And then Martha Stewart Called. . .

Wedding day for Ben Blair and Gabby Stanley Blair

My brother, sixteen years my junior, is one of the funniest people I know. It’s dry wit, and reminds me of my youngest son’s humor. Actually my youngest son is Ben’s doppelganger. Take a look at the photo on the side and compare with this one:

My youngest two

Ben was once driving through Island Park, which was full of wild flowers, with an uncle of ours, who said, “I’ll give you a quarter for every flower you can name.” Ben was on it: “Henry, Sam, Melissa, George. . .”

That’s Ben.

When he met Gabby Stanley, he was the president of the BYU Bean Society, a club dedicated–obviously–to beans. I once spoke at the society, commenting on BYU’s Montie L. Bean Museum. I said, “I was thrilled to learn that there would finally be a Bean museum. But it was a ruse. It’s a stuffed wildlife museum. Not a bean in there.” The Bean Society flourished for a bit, long enough for Gabby to see the wonders of Ben, and visa versa.

I am writing this in Ben and Gabby’s home in Oakland. I have been getting to know my brother, my SiL and their family a bit better. I must say, I’m impressed.

That lovely couple pictured above on their wedding day now has six children. Gabby is a famous blogger called “Design Mom.” Her blogging is a business, and she takes it seriously. Yes, it is true that our conversation yesterday was interrupted by a call from Martha Stewart. Read Gabby’s blog here.

Ben is primarily engaged in filming a series of short videos called “Olive Us.” His goals, he told me, are to provide portraits of siblings who get along–countering the common but cheap humor of name calling and clever insults in most television shows aimed at a young or YA audience. He shows his children “spending time with each other and working on cool, meaningful things together. Simple. Climb a tree. Make a recipe.” Here’s a sample.

Ben and Gabby represent a life which I could not have imagined given our age difference. They work almost entirely online, and can therefore choose where they’ll live.

Last night, the California Blairs hosted my dear friend Haika and her son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Laura. It was a family affair, and included a visit to a huge telescope where viewers could see Jupiter and its moons.

I saw sweetness of Sam’s relationship with his fiancée throughout the evening. (I met him when he was a new missionary in the MTC.) It’s clear that their marriage will be a good one. They fit beautifully together.

Last Sunday, many of my siblings and I gathered at my parents’ place. Dad had had a great week, and looked over his children and grandchildren. We had been singing and joking. Dad said, “I have joy in my posterity.”

We Blair kids almost always got along well, and had long conversations around the dinner table. We traveled. We learned languages. We stood up for one another. We still do.

How lovely to see part of the family that couldn’t join us last Sunday, to see them joke with each other and easily host a dinner. How sweet to see the beauty of the Stanley and the Blair DNA in glorious synthesis in the Blair kids’ faces.

That was a good wedding all those years ago in St. George, Utah.

About Margaret Blair Young

Margaret Blair Young teaches literature and creative writing at Brigham Young University. For the past fifteen years, she has specialized in the history of blacks in the west, particularly black Mormons. She has written six novels and two short story collections, but has lately become interested in filmmaking. Her current endeavor is a film to be shot in Zambia called Heart of Africa (www.heartofafricafilm.com)


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