Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A Long Trip

This post will be unlike anything you've read here before. If you don't like it, well, tough it out, we hope to return to banal ramblings at some point. Maybe even soon.

My father-in-law, Robert Griswold, was a great man. I'd only known him for five years but he made an impression on me that I will carry with me forever. His wife, Joan, who I'd known the same amount of time, welcomed me into their family when I married Christine and made me feel at ease from the day I met her.

One of my favorite stories about my father-in-law, Bob, is the wager we made before the January 1, 2003 Citrus Bowl between the Auburn Tigers and the Penn State Nittany Lions. He was a War Eagle and I am very much a Nittany Lion. The winner had to buy the loser a sweatshirt and take digital photos doing yard work, going shopping etc... So, Penn State loses (again) and several weeks later I get a bright orange sweatshirt in the mail. After a gloating phone call from Bob (extra amusement, for him, came from the fact that I could go hunting in the hideous rag) I agreed to have some photos taken. The best photo I could think of at the time was to get the two boys (8 and 7 at the time) on either side of me while using the orange sleeves as a tissue, or at least pretending to. Quite proud of myself I sent those pictures to Bob and waited for a response. But when it came after two weeks it wasn't what I was expecting.

He sent me an email at work with a .WAV (sound) file attached. I didn't think much of it, as he forwarded me all kinds of jokes. The message in the body of the email was to the point: "Best if played twice." So in the middle of February, six weeks after PSU loses, I get a .WAV file at work that says:


It was obviously taken from the hometown broadcast in Alabama and I never found out how he did it because I just emailed him back, "Well played" and we never spoke of it again. Kind of like the devil laying the fiddle on the ground at Johnny's feet. I miss him.

My wife's father and step-mother were murdered on May 24, 2003 in Fort Worth, TX. They were at home enjoying their Saturday afternoon when an intruder forced his way in, took their credit cards, car keys and shot them both in the back of the head.

The jurisprudence portion of this ordeal ended this past Friday when Bob and Joan's son and daughters witnessed the conviction of Lance R. Kirk on a capital murder charge after a two-and-a-half-week trial.

I was proud to travel to TX and offer support to my wife and her resilient siblings. I learned a lot from them and their spouses about compassion and empathy. I drew strength from all of them based on their support for one another.

The story in Saturday's Fort Worth Star Telegram is here. The victim's personal statement, as read by my wife, is quoted several times in the story. I will be posting the whole thing in this forum tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

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