A man with a wife, a mother, four daughters, nine granddaughters and untold nieces and grandnieces and other female relations has a lot of sweethearts. I do not lack for feminine affection. One of mine has that unwieldy “in-law” suffix attached to her, but I mostly ignore it. She is “my other sweetheart,” and I am as proud of her as a man can be.
My son, Adam, while intelligent enough to earn an MBA, has pulled far more than his fair share of bone-headed stunts. However, he hit a home run clear into the next county when he somehow, inexplicably, managed to persuade Ashlie to sign on the dotted line and submit to a life sentence as a Green. I have no idea how he pulled it off, but when he nabbed the little Booneville girl born to Freddie and Sharon Lynch, it was the best day’s work he has ever done. With one little “I do,” he upgraded our bloodline considerably.
My son has about three times as much personality as a man should be allowed legally to have. In stark contrast, I have all the dazzling social skills of an ill-tempered rock. Ashlie’s demeanor, on the other hand, is like concentrated, expensive perfume. It pervades the room even before you are aware that she is present. It is tantalizingly understated, and all the more compelling because of it.
One of the most appealing features of Ashlie’s pristine character is how much (or perhaps I should say, how little) she talks. She is not at all anti-social and will enter into the conversation to an appropriate extent. But that is where it stops – appropriately. She does not spoil the interaction by trying to dominate it. Those of you who share my appreciation of a modest, unassuming personality can imagine how much I enjoy being around her, listening to just enough words - not too many, just enough.
The Adam Green family lives on a residential cul-de-sac in Charleston. It is a very pleasant environment – quiet, comfortable, pleasing to the eye and to the soul. What that street is to neighborhoods, Ashlie is among women.
Most of you are familiar with the most famous smile in history. Mysterious, enigmatic, tantalizing, understated – men have groped for words to describe what Da Vinci captured in his portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, the painting which is commonly known as the Mona Lisa. It is not a well-known fact, but del Giocondo learned that expression from Ashlie. I jest, of course; but my daughter-in-law’s smile is indeed in a class by itself. Consistent with her character, it does not dazzle you like a bright light. Instead it reaches out, tugs at your heart, pulls you close, and binds your affections into a neat package from which you cannot escape, and have no desire to do so.
Over the years my confidence in Ashlie has grown to the point that if I were to learn of an argument between Adam and her, I would take her side automatically, even without knowing the details of the disagreement. Oh, admittedly I might be wrong once or twice out of a thousand times, but those are not bad odds upon which to build an assumption.
Ashlie missed a golden opportunity about 19 years ago. Their second and third children are boy-girl twins. My late father was a twin, and I think when Ashlie gave birth to Jacob and Allison that she could have asked for half of Daddy’s worldly wealth and he gladly would have given it to her. He was just that proud of her. He thought she was the Belle of the Ball (which is not a bad description of her, come to think of it).
Say what you will about many people that I know; but I hereby serve notice that even if you have hard, cold, undeniable evidence against Ashlie, I still am unlikely to believe it. To me she is just right, and that is all there is to it.