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Tea kettles and lifetime achievements


I adore my father-in-law. I think this story perfectly encapsulates who he is, and everything I love most about him…

A few weeks ago, my husband told me about the latest conversation he had with his dad during their weekly chat over the phone. They mostly talked about the conference he (my father-in-law) had recently been to at his old alma mater, Oxford University.

“So how was the conference, Dad?” my husband inquired.

“Well, the travel went smoothly, I got to see a lot of old friends, and my paper was well-received…but I found it really just awful,” my father-in-law replied.

“Really? Why?” my husband asked, understandably perplexed.

“Unbeknownst to me, they’d gone around and collected some money and decided to present me with a lifetime achievement award. So on the final evening at the dinner, they made me come up to the front so they could present me with a plaque they had made up. It was so embarrassing…And I can’t even use it to put the tea kettle on, because the surface is uneven!”