A family celebrates good decisions | TheFencePost.com

A family celebrates good decisions

Margaret Hunhoff
Yankton, S.D.

Mark and Patty Hunhoff

As a mother of seven boys, you can imagine how happy I was when Mark, our oldest, began to date a pretty neighbor girl.

Mark met Patty Potts at a Utica dance and how that night has changed our lives. They stayed together even though Mark soon left for National Guard duty in Texas. Then in 1969, they married and moved to Mission Hill to start their married lives together.

A few months ago we all hid in a bedroom while they came through the front door, so we could pop out and surprise them with a party for their 40th anniversary. Of course, now what started as the two of them now includes their two boys and five little grandchildren who are very good at keeping secrets. They were truly surprised.

Patty grew up as an only child, so it must have been difficult for her to suddenly have to deal with six brothers-in-law and parents-in-law. My husband and I had to practice with her on how to have a daughter in the family, but she was always such a good sport. She soon learned to tease the boys as much as they teased her.

I will never forget when she baked what seemed like bushels of cookies for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday party. She has been a true daughter in good times and bad. When my husband died, she and Mark came and stayed in the farmhouse with me. It never again felt like home to me, but their presence meant so much.

Patty was also waiting in the hospital when I awoke from major surgery. Just being present in times of sorrow and celebration is a great gift that Patty instinctively understands.

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Now five other sons have given me daughters-in-law and I am thankful for each and every one. Someone said long ago that marriage is like a sharp scissors – it needs to pull apart at times, but woe to anyone or anything that comes between.

Patty’s parents, Frank and Emma Lou Potts, also enjoyed the surprise party. Frank has long been teased that he chased off any boys who tried to date Patty in her teenage years. He insists today that his gruff reputation was unearned. He said he just wanted any suitors to dress properly and behave. We’re so lucky that Mark met the standards.

A few days after the wedding, Frank was quiet on the farm, so Emma Lou asked if he missed Patty.

“No,” he said, “but I think the dog does.”