Sheltered Islander: Your Island Mother Knows Best

July 4 party planing, Shelter Island style Vodka
July 4 party planing, Shelter Island style, Photo: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

“Wendy, let Daddy and me host the party. You and Ted are just starting out and it’s such a big expense.”

“No, Mom. Teddy and I are doing fine and we can celebrate our first wedding anniversary at the same time, since the dates are so close. I want to do the menu but I’ll take some help with the cooking. Teddy is going to get patio furniture and a barbecue grill. He is going to take charge of making the backyard look nice.”

“Wendy, you don’t mean you’re going to let him pick out patio furniture and a grill all by himself, do you?”

“I trust him completely, Mom. He’s not like other guys. He knows my taste and won’t go over-budget, he promised. Besides, he said Daddy would help him.”

“Well then, this idea just went from incredibly bad into the black hole of bad ideas from which no intelligent decisions emanate. With the two of them reinforcing each other’s bad choices, you’re going to end up with cheap plastic chairs, the backseats of cars for couches, four cinderblocks and a sheet of plywood for a table, and the most expensive barbecue grill they could find, all next to an old bathtub full of beer and ice.”

“Mom, Teddy and I aren’t like you and Daddy. Relationships are different now, men and women really talk to each other. You’ll be impressed with his good taste.”

“I won’t interfere, honey, but I remember saying the same thing to my mother when I let your father choose a second-hand family car by himself. I knew he’d choose a nice station wagon, since we already had one child and one on the way. My momma told me, ‘Never let a man make a choice that you have to live with.’”

“And he surprised you when he bought the old blue Oldsmobile wagon that we’re still using, didn’t he?”

“No. Daddy came home with a second-hand Toyota Land Cruiser with racks for fishing poles already installed in the back. We worked out a way to secure child car seats to the back of our seats. Naturally, even a man who’s just the tiniest bit macho can’t have baby seats in his Land Cruiser. So it didn’t take me long to talk him into choosing a family car again, but this time I went with him, which is how we got Ol’ Blue.”

“Well, Teddy isn’t Daddy. You’ll see.”

“Ted, I’m really getting anxious. You said you’d have the backyard all set up and I don’t see anything out there yet.”

“Baby, relax. I’ve got it all under control.”

(July 4)

“Hi, Daddy, please put Mom on the phone. Hi, Mom. Listen, can I bring the food to your house?”

“Let me guess. You’re looking out to your backyard, where you see a plywood table, plastic chairs, bathtub full of beer and a brand new, very expensive barbecue grill?”

“And two backseats from a Lincoln Town Car. He thinks it’s okay because they’re leather, red leather. And when I asked him where’s all the nice lawn furniture you were gonna buy, he just said, ‘What? What’s wrong?’ Mom, I’m gonna kill him. I can’t believe he did this to me! Him and Daddy are out there now, playing with that stupid new grill. I don’t know what to do.”

“Relax, Wendy honey, add vodka to whatever you’re drinking today and just keep thinking of the Labor Day sales in September when all the lawn furniture that YOU want will be
on sale.

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