I was on the phone this morning and got the question – again – ‘so what’s it like being married to someone so decorated?’
I figured the fellow meant this, not the chocolate cake we gave Jon for his birthday party the other day, although it was, I must say, a fine cake, covered in black, red and yellow, which, who could forget, are Germany’s colours.
Yes, those colours have been flown pretty well everywhere now – my suggestion is that British Airways now go ahead and repaint all their passenger jets.
But it was the official German soccer jersey (hey, half price) that was the real hit, and anyone within distance of roughly one soccer pitch from Jon knew that when he opened it.
The other highlight of that day was all of us – members from both Chamberlain and Froese families – descending to our basement living room to watch some vintage film clips of our respective families, from the ‘60s and ‘70s, a time when you could take the bottom of your checkered pants and easily put them over the top of your head with plenty of room to spare.
I had converted some old film originally given to me from a Tante in Berlin of scenes she shot on an old film camera in 1973 when she and my grandmother visited us in Canada.
Meanwhile, some years ago when My Bride and I met, her parents had given me some old Super 8 of their family that even predates 1973.
It only took me 12 years — sorry again about that – to get that on DVD also, which is just about long enough for everyone to forget any film existed in the first place.
Yes, there’s little Jeanie, so tiny, smiling with her hair in a little pom-pom, the girl, who, unbeknownst to everyone, would later be more decorated than a birthday cake. And there was so much more, so much that once My Bride saw it she said her parents would surely give me an award for Son-in-Law-of the Year.
I asked for a cash prize and a trip.
In either case, everyone was happy – my family and Jean’s family with about 90 minutes of family clips, in total, all of it more precious than gold, really, and then Jon with his jersey and cake and being able to eat it too. (I mean really, what’s with that phrase, anyway? What use is a cake that you can’t eat?)
Anyway, on that day, in the paper, here was my response to ALL those people who now ask me about, you know, being married to someone decorated more than Jon’s chocolate cake.
(If you missed this the first time, you really should read the Spectator more often.)
(Actually, you know, this is long enough now. The rest will have to wait to next time.)