Paul's sister, Kim, lives in Te Puke and she masterminded the surprise, which also saw one of Paul's brothers and his family drive down from Auckland for the weekend.
We pulled it off.
Judy had no idea we were coming and was stunned when Kim lead her out onto the patio to find us singing, "Happy Fox Day to you!"
It was a magical weekend. The sun shone and we relaxed together at Kim's house doing things Fox would have loved - watching the littlies put on a concert, eating curried sausages on mashed potato, playing tennis, and cuddling three of his newest grand-babies.
I won't even try to convey how wonderful Fox was - how much we lost when he died, aged just 60 years old. Instead I thought I would share with you some of my memories of him.
Memories of my father-in-law
1. Building a water slide in his backyard for family Christmas, and then throwing himself down it with the exuberance of a child.
2. Painting the master bedroom for me and Paul and not being able to hide his look of horror when I asked if I could help, which was quickly followed by a look of relief when he came up with the idea of me painting inside the closet.
3. Painting our master bedroom with an inch of butt-crack showing at all times.
4. Helping me pick up a trailer load of horse manure for my new raised garden, and then unloading it for me barrow full by barrow full, while the flies swarmed around him.
|Fox unloading horse poop into my raised garden.|
6. Getting so sea-sick on a holiday in Fiji that even snorkelling made him hurl.
7. Going on a visit to the local primary school in Fiji and getting swamped by children as he showed them how to turn numbers into animals on the blackboard.
8. Teaching me to play squash and making me feel like I was actually OK at it.
9. Partnering me in 500 the first evening I met him and bidding 10 no trumps on absolutely nothing. (We didn't get it, much to his surprise.)
10. Finding Bonty for us when he was just a stray kitten. Actually, he wanted Bonty to be his cat and was going to take him back to Te Puke with him but couldn't find him the morning he headed back.
11. Teaching me how to show Bonty I'm boss... by holding onto him and patting him even when he tries to get down.
12. Being the first to say it was a great idea for Paul and I to turn our engagement party into a surprise wedding.
|Fox, Paul, me and Judy at our surprise wedding.|
|Dancing with Fox at my wedding.|
15. Never saying a bad word about anyone. "We're all different!"
16. Taking all the grandkids down to the beach at Whangapoua first thing in the morning, so the parents could sleep in on our family holidays there.
17. Taking Sunday school and being just as enthusiastic as the children about the illusions and magic tricks he used to get his message across.
18. Loving Jesus with his whole heart, or as much as he could spare from loving his wife, kids and grandkids so much. "Jesus rulz!"
19. Saying "yes" to anybody who asked for help, but never asking for help himself unless he really needed it.
20. Being so glad I married his son.
|Fox and my husband, Paul.|