Well, there’s one last part of our engagement that I need to share: telling my folks.
Remember that Mom and Pop were totally enamored with Nolan–he was the most wonderful guy I could have ever brought home! When we started talking about getting married (after three months of dating), they were all for it. Once when I talked with them on the phone from Langdon I mentioned that I should call Grace Church to see about available dates in June when my mom said, “Aren’t you getting married in Langdon?”
“Uh, no. You usually get married in the bride’s church.”
“Have you asked Nolan about that?!”
Obviously I was a side-consideration in this decision.
After Nolan and I had told his folks we were engaged, we headed back to Illinois.
To say that my family is a “little different” from Nolan’s is an understatement. Up until this trip to Langdon I had always thought I came from an affectionate family. After meeting the Spenst family, the Moschel family looked downright standoffish!
Everyone hugs everyone else in the Spenst family. There is no such thing as handshaking to say, “Hi.” You are engulfed in hug after hug from relative after relative (and there are lots of them!). One day at a cafe in town we met a man who Nolan introduced as his Uncle Earl. After the now-expected hug, Uncle Earl informed me, “We Spenst’s aren’t fighters–we’re lovers!”
When relatives arrive at the Spenst farm, even in the middle of the night, most of the family (except the little kids) will get up and go greet–and hug–whoever has come. Even if they’re only up for fifteen minutes to help you get settled into your space in the house, they get up. Not at my house. When we arrived at my folks’ place in the middle of the night, Nolan just about banged on the door and yelled, “We’re here!” Fortunately I caught him in time and informed him that we should go quietly to our rooms and would greet my family in the morning. With an utterly baffled look, Nolan went quietly to bed.
The next morning Mom and Pop greeted us with smiles, hugs from Mom for both and from Pop for me. He was going to just nod at Nolan when Nolan, being a Spenst, hugged him! Pop, again, looked pleased with my choice of man even if he was a little different.
Mom made us breakfast and we were just sitting down when Nolan stood up, walked behind my chair and said, “Bill, I have something I want to ask you.”
Pop looked at Nolan expectantly while Nolan asked, “Bill, may I have permission to marry your daughter?”
With a BIG grin, Pop said yes, Mom started smiling and crying while they hugged us and congratulated us (Pop hugged, too, this time!).
Just as we sat down again Pop said, “Well, I think this calls for a celebration!” pulled a pistol out of his belt and fired six blanks in the air!
Mom jumped up and down, “Oh! Bill! The bird! The bird!” (The finch was going crazy in the cage from the noise.)
Pop got a big laugh out of that and later presented me with the six shells, which I still have.
Yep, the Moschel’s definitely show their affection just a little differently!