Brad lives next door to me in a house he shares with my daughter Gretchen and my grandchildren, Bryce, Ford and TT. There’s plenty of room for them over there. There’s a small apartment on the lower level of the house which has housed a succession of interns from their church, and which I may eventually move into when they’re not looking. I hope they won’t notice.
In Boy Scouts, both Duane and Brad managed to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, an award which explains a lot about their character and resourcefulness. Their sister Linda couldn’t become an Eagle Scout, so she grew up to become a distinguished angel of good works instead.
Four of my daughters attended Roosevelt High School – the same one Brad and his siblings went to, and that’s where our paths first crossed.
My daughter Gretchen and Brad were married in 1982. The year Bryce was born, they moved into the big house next door. It’s a stately old home that’s about one hundred years old. That’s when I first started observing an amazing phenomenon. Brad is the perfect homeowner of a place like that. Because He Can Fix ANYTHING. With invention and skill. And what he fixes, stays fixed.
As an example, one day Gretchen and I were lamenting how we couldn’t keep the gate between our houses closed. We were trying to prevent a little visiting dog from running out of the yard. The next thing we knew, a piece of wood several inches long appeared in place on top between the two sections of the gate. A groove had been drilled along the center of its length. To keep the gate closed ever since, all we have to do is slide the wood strip to join the two sections. It’s ingenious.
Another time, my grandson Ford wanted to build a “fort” in my backyard. Almost like magic, within a couple of days, Brad educated him and helped plan and construct a downright charming little building that still resides in my backyard. I keep threatening to rent it out as a bed and breakfast.
I would tell you what Brad does for a living if I knew. I have been investigating this subject for the past twenty some years because, after all, I’m his mother-in-law. Snooping is part of my job description.
During interrogation, my granddaughter TT, said she thinks “it has something to do with investments”. This is not a satisfying answer, and I feel it is my responsibility to investigate further.
Whatever Brad does, he does it in the privacy of his office on the first floor. This part of the house is not a welcoming environment for nosy mothers-in-law. The office is bunker-style with concrete walls you can’t hear through, a window you can see out of but not into, and a door which is kept securely closed. I don’t know what goes on in there, but it’s not from lack of trying. Unless I can acquire some new forensic techniques — what goes on in Brad’s office stays in Brad’s office. We may never know.
But why, I ponder, is he squandering his talent in the field of finance, when he could be contributing to the needs of the real world as a handyman? A problem-solver. An inventor. A fixer. A rescuer.
His cool head and resourcefulness was never more evident than the time six years ago when my 14 year old grandson Ford had a cardiac arrest while playing in a basketball game. My daughter Gretchen – herself a trained lifeguard well versed to CPR – – was frozen in shock – along with the rest of the stunned crowd. Resolutely and calmly, Brad moved in, took over, and applied CPR to his son for ten minutes till medics arrived and came running into the gym. Ford remained near death for several days following, but thanks to his dad’s actions was able to survive the ordeal.
Lke I said, what Brad fixes, stays fixed.
Hmm. I keep assuming that all his gifts will continue to be used for good. But what if he corrupted them to use in a life of crime? In the Mafia for instance, Brad would make an exceedingly effective Cleaner – going in after the crime, and “fixing” it. But not to worry.. His mother-in-law will stand by him.
Brad is a person whom I love and admire with intensity. My life (and my house and yard) would be in ruins without him. He is a decent person, and that’s what I’m going to tell the authorities. No matter what he’s done, I shall stand by him. I shall tell the jury about how he was an Eagle Scout and how, without fail, he has always taken my garbage and recycling and yard waste cans out to the curb.
I know he’ll get a light sentence because the judge will probably think he’s suffered enough. What poor guy gets to have his life story told by his mother-in-law?