My cousin, Susan Geston, has come a long way from where she grew up in Fargo, N.D.
When I was young and my parents would return to North Dakota where they were raised, we would visit my Uncle Magnus and Aunt Pat, and my cousins, Susan and Bill.
While our parents caught up with what has happened since they last saw each other, us cousins had to entertain each other — sometimes at their home in Fargo or at our grandmother’s house in tiny Edinburgh, N.D.
When we visited our grandmother, Susan and Bill usually joined us.
We played among the old farm machinery and cars in a nearby field, explored the dirt streets of Edinburgh and went to the town picnic on the Fourth of July.
We had a lot of fun together.
The trips were infrequent since we lived in different states, and like many cousins, after
becoming adults we have seen very little of each other.
Susan was sick of the endlessly flat land of eastern North Dakota and went west to
Bozeman, Mont., to attend college near the Rocky Mountains.
It was while there that she won the marriage lottery.
One summer, a movie was
being filmed near Bozeman, and she got a part as an extra in
Fate intervened in the form of a car accident that left her with two black eyes — and as bad luck can unexpectedly turn into good luck — that got her noticed by the movie’s star, Jeff Bridges.
They dated, fell in love and have been married for more than 30 years. They have three lovely daughters.
I don’t bring this up often, because the reaction I sometimes get is: Jeff Bridges, yeah, right.
However, I don’t believe that knowing someone who knows someone is that rare.
I have met Susan’s famous husband twice — at my cousin Bill’s wedding and my uncle’s funeral.
Jeff Bridges was on film location in Texas when Uncle Maggie died, and they shut down filming for the day while he charted a private plane and limousine to get to the church in Fargo for the services.
Afterwards, Jeff remained apart from the rest of Susan’s family, and as he was about to leave, I approached him and thanked him for coming.
It was as though he had a small part in “My Father-in-Law’s
Funeral,” and he forgot his lines.
Celebrity idols have feet of clay after all.
I once asked Maggie what it was like to have a celebrity as a son-in-law.
He admitted that he sometimes wished Susan lived a more normal life.
Maggie added: “Jeff is good to Susan.”
To his great credit, every year on Susan’s birthday, Jeff calls my Aunt Pat to thank her for Susan.
Everyone treats Jeff Bridges as though he were a god, and when he returns home from a movie shoot, Susan is there to bring him back to earth and remind him that even gods have to take out the trash.
Jeff Bridges is nominated for an Academy Award as best actor for his role in “Crazy Heart.”
I’ll watch the Academy Awards on Sunday hoping to catch a glimpse of Susan, who will be seated next to him.
I’ll pull for the “silent” film star to win his first Oscar.
But I’m rooting for Jeff to win for personal reasons: He’s been good to my cousin, Susan.
Contact Randall Rasmussen at