Brad has asked me to write something about his family. First of all, not surprisingly, it turns out that we did not go for his dad's 80th birthday - it was only his 79th. Who messed up is hard to say! I've been hearing since December that his step mom wanted us to visit for number 80, but it's quite possible that something went wrong in the translation.
Brad comes from a long line of moon shiners and gun runners, according to his father. Bob, his dad, is a great guy, not well educated but very quick-witted and extremely bright. His brother, Don, got the really good looks in the family and the athletic build but certainly not the intellectual curiosity or the thirst for knowledge that Brad has. I adore Don; we always just end up laughing and enjoying whatever time we have together. Don has been married twice -- the longest one lasted three weeks.
Brad's mom, who died eight years ago, was a beautiful girl and a "hot babe" - picked up by his dad, a navy guy in uniform during WWII, at a skating rink just after her high school graduation while visiting her older married sister. They married secretly two weeks later and had an extremely happy marriage until her death fifty years later. So much for good planning and marital counseling! Everyone in his family just seems to happily meander through life.
Mary Jo, the step mom, is a hoot, just like the rest of the family. She was excited to be going into a "chat room" because she thought that she would get to "literally talk" with someone through the monitor. When she and Bob decided to get married, Mary Jo called Brad to make certain that he knew she was not trying to replace his mother (Brad was 51 at the time and had been out of the house long before he even graduated from college). You should see me in the wedding video as the Maid of Honor in a Las Vegas wedding for a woman I had just met.
Traveling with Brad is like traveling with an encyclopedia. He has bought at least fifteen to twenty books (typical of what he does on all our trips) that relate to the history, culture or legends of that area. It would be hard for me to complain because he actually reads all of them! His family most of the time has no idea what his interests are all about, so sometimes it amazes me where all his intellectual curiosity came from. Most of the time he knows more about a subject than most people care to hear. So be careful what you ask - just ask Ron Korutz or one of his other bored friends what a question to Brad will get you! However, he will also freely admit when he doesn't know something (no pretense there).
As for me, I'm still that Yankee girl he married - the one who makes them laugh and usually reads a book while she visits. Click here for photo album 5.