No cult of personalities here

Published February 11, 2007

Family is a funny thing. You are all born into the same group by the same mother and father, but somehow, you all turn out differently.

As I told you several weeks ago, my brother, his wife and my sister and her husband were coming for a visit. Because of space, my sister and brother-in-law were staying at a motel in the area. My brother and sister-in-law were staying with my husband and me.

None of this was a problem, except for the anticipation of the visiting dog that my sister was bringing along to visit.

As with most things, the anticipation was worse than the deed. The dog stayed in the house; our cat stayed outside on the screened-in patio. They looked at each other through the kitchen window, the dog would bark at the cat, but the cat seemed to take the visitor in stride. He didn't seem to be the least bit upset by being locked out of his own house.

But I was talking about the differences between siblings.

My sister is a needle worker. She loves to make quilts and always brings along some handheld needle work. It keeps her mind busy and her hands active.

She is not an outdoor type of person at all. Working in the garden, mowing a lawn, going for a canoe ride is just not her style. Give her needlework or something to cook and she is happy.

My brother is a computer programer. But he also likes outdoor activities. He used to fly planes, hang glide, fish, canoe, or any of those other things that requires skill and nerves. He loves traveling and exploring. In fact, he likes to travel so much, that he traveled to Vietnam where he met his new bride.

He works around the house, but painting and decorating are not his things.

I am more like my brother. I like the outdoors and I like traveling. However, I am not good at computers. In fact, they drive me crazy. I have absolutely no patience with computers.

But, on the other hand, I love painting rooms and decorating. I like working in my garden, going for walks and exploring unknown territory. Unlike my sister, I do not really enjoy working in the kitchen. I eat to live; I do not live to eat.

Not only are we different in many ways, but we also married people who are nothing alike. I was always told that men married someone like their mother and women married someone more like their father. In our family, this does not apply.

My sister married someone of Italian descent. He is outgoing, loves to talk and is very particular about what he has to eat. To him, food is of the utmost importance. The more there is, the better he likes it.

Of course, most food he eats must be made from scratch with plenty of Italian spices and cheeses. So it's good he married my sister, who likes to cook.

He also is a "doer." He is a handyman's handyman. He likes to putter and if it can be fixed, he will know how to fix it.

He also enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles, but has the need to preserve them after they are completed. You will find his puzzles hanging in his garage. I guess my sister really doesn't want them hanging in the house.

My brother's wife, as I told you, is from Vietnam. She loves pleasing people, loves to cook and clean, and is "johnny-on-the-spot" when something needs done.

My brother loves it, since he lived as a bachelor for many years. Cleaning house was not his bag.

She started her visit at my house by attempting to clean my refrigerator. I was really glad for the help. It needed cleaning.

She is also good with her hands and does origami and can create beautiful things out of everyday materials. She waits on my brother hand and foot, making sure he is comfortable and even places his napkin on his lap at supper time.

She is very thrifty and believes in the theory "waste not, want not." She's a cute little thing, just 86 pounds, but a hard worker with a very pleasant personality.

I married an Englishman. You've heard about him before. He isn't a handyman, but he is very kind and doesn't like to hurt other people's feelings. He is a salesman, and a good one, but he is not a pushy person.

We call him the "quiet man." He likes to do his crossword puzzles, watch his sports and play his golf. He has a good sense of humor and is very likeable.

Unlike my brother-in-law, he doesn't do yard work. But this allows me to decorate and landscape as I see fit which makes for a good match.

I like quiet men. That way I am not constantly having to make conversation. He played the role of the sheriff in a play we presented at our clubhouse. He wasn't quiet at all then! I think his true personality came out, and that's good. He was funny!

So you see, we have six people with six distinct personalities. All have their faults and all have their good points, but all are so different. You would think that families would come with a certain "code of personalities." But they don't.

Having three children of my own, I can see where each has developed their own personality. So is it a birth thing? Is there something preprogrammed to make everyone different, or do personalities develop because of experiences in life.

It is the old nature-nurture argument. But what is great is that we all get along and have a good time together.

Despite the bout of cold weather, we had a nice visit. Fur did not fly from cat, dog, or any of the relatives. This is a good thing. However, next time they plan on coming to see us, I am going to request sunshine and warm weather. After all, as they reminded me, this is the Sunshine State!

Thought for the day: Blood is thicker than water, but no matter how thick, some blood runs different directions.