Monday, March 07, 2005

Smucker Men

I had an email conversation recently with a young lady I’ll call Martha who seems to be seriously thinking about marrying a young man of the Smucker clan. She was wondering what these Smucker guys are like and what she could expect if she joined the family. "I’m pretty new at this," she wrote. "Anything you can tell me would be just great."

All I know, up close, is life with one particular Smucker guy. Based on my experience and lots of conversations with my sisters-in-law, this, dear Martha, is what you can expect:

Teachable density. These guys don’t get anything subtle. Hints fly right over their heads. But then, so do insults. Stuff that would wound us mortally doesn’t even register with them. Also, they aren’t naturally adept with, say, bathing babies, but are amazingly teachable. My mother-in-law can’t believe how her sons help with their children since their father didn’t set the example. We daughters-in-law like to think that we just had the right way of teaching them but of course the guys were willing to be taught.

Analysis not emotion. This evening I told Paul that when I was teaching our son Steven in Kenya I would never have dreamt that he had the potential of being such a goofball. What Paul was supposed to say: "He always seemed so quiet, didn’t he?" What Paul actually said: "Well, I think I know why that is. For one thing, they didn’t have much tolerance there for that kind of behavior. And for another, I think he is still deciding what role he fills in our family."

Leadership. The Smucker guys tend to be movers and shakers. Prepare to be in the spotlight.

Noisy discussions. They take after their ancestor Orval, who would call his children on summer mornings, ("MILLLLFORRRRD!! TIME TO GET UP!") and if the wind was right their cousins a mile down the road could hear. The more intense the discussion, the louder the voices. This does not mean they are angry or upset. They are just enjoying themselves. Last summer at a family reunion Paul was holding forth in such a discussion. I was trying to sleep in a bedroom about 30 feet away, down the hall and around the corner, with earplugs in my ears and a pillow over my head, and I could understand what he was saying.

Honest diplomacy. Just as they don’t get subtle insults, they don’t give them either. What you see and hear is what you get. No nasty barbs, no left-handed compliments. They say what they mean and mean what they say. Oddly, they are both blunt and diplomatic, and you may find your husband being the liaison and arbitrator in some very strange conflicts.

Steady and solid. We bob and sway and dip and dive and soar and sink. They stay steady as a rock.

Not self-absorbed. These guys are not introspective, navel-gazing tortured souls with hyper-sensitive consciences who berate themselves for a week for something stupid they said last Sunday at church. Do they, however, tend to marry women like this? Um, heh heh, let’s quickly move on here, shall we?

Well, Martha, that’s all I could think of right now. It takes a brave woman to marry into the family, but if you’re the right one for the job, you’ll never regret it.

Quote of the Day:
"Did you know that there's someone that if you press 1 and then play Mary Had A Little Lamb, it'll call them? I know from experience."


  1. And furthermore, Martha, know that the Smucker women (as in Smucker wives) are WRITERS and they will write about you!