I married my husband because a.) he made me laugh; b.) he liked to do the dishes, c.) he got a 100 percent approval rating from all four of my brothers and d.) he was as weird as I was.
Okay, so there were other reasons. He was kind of cute. He liked to go shopping. To malls. He was cheaper than I was. And oh yeah, there was that little thing called love.
But the item lettered “a.)”. That was the biggie. He always made me laugh…without trying. Still does. In fact, after 30 years, just when I was pretty sure I’d heard all of his stories, he comes through with another zinger. This came up last night as we were traipsing from the coffee shop to the grocery store. Something about a tarantula and some bananas. He says if I don’t believe him, I can ask his brother, Rudi. But you see, that’s the problem. I tend not to believe Rudi either. They’re two of a kind.
Anyway, so there was a big spider and a relative stepped on it and that’s all I’m allowed to say. In fact, I’ve told more than I was supposed to. Except for this. I’ve never understood his dislike of spiders. I thought all boys liked spiders and girls weren’t supposed to. But in our family, it’s the other way around. Spiders get no screams or shudders out of me. Centipedes, yes. But spiders, no.
As with the supposed tarantula tale, his stories usually involve some other member of his family. More often than not, Rudi is a part of them. Sometimes his sister, Mary, appears in them. Rudi had a habit of leading him astray. Here’s an example. Their dad sold Fuller Brush, and one day they went to Kenton to visit some friends. Rudi was in 7th grade, Fred not even in kindergarten. Rudi was sitting in the car with the key turned just far enough that he could listen to the radio. Fred — always wanting to be wherever his big brother was — went out to the car and had to sneak around to get into the car. In the meantime, Rudi got out of the car, little Fredy flipped the gears and the car began to back down the driveway. Luckily, it stopped on its own but the senior Steiners weren’t so pleased.
I’m probably not telling these stories quite right but it’s not my fault. He tells them a little differently each time. Rudi and Mary’s versions further complicate things.
One of my all-time favorites is one that still makes Mary and Rudi mad. I think it’s funny. Good thing they don’t live near me or I could be in trouble. Mary and Rudi liked to hang out with their high school friends at Lester’s up on Main Street. This was in the late 50s, early 60s. Their parents were not so pleased with this “hanging out” thing, so one night, they donned Halloween masks and put one on Fred and strolled uptown, passing the high school kids ever so slowly. Talk about embarrassing your kids.
In retrospect, maybe I married my husband because his whole family made me laugh. He comes by this storytelling honestly. His mom had a habit of doing things for a laugh. There was the time she borrowed Mary’s coat to walk uptown. Some high school guys were cruising and saw her. Thinking it was Mary, they pulled over, opened the door and said “Get in”. She got in. Surprised the heck out of them.
There are oh so many more. Not a day goes by that this guy fails to make me laugh at least once. I don’t know how he does it, but I don’t care. I hope he keeps doing it for another 30 years.