Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It Coulda Been a Shotgun Wedding

My daddy was man who liked to put his hospitality on display. Somewhere around the spring of my twelfth birthday, he purchased a welcome sign for our front door. From that time on, until I graduated and left the house at the age of 18, any friend who came by my home was first greeted by the words:

'This house guarded by shotgun three nights per week; you guess which three.'

On occasion, an unsuspecting newcomer would mistake this proclamation of cordiality for mere jest. Being known also as a man of wit, it would have been an easy mistake. This notion, however, was quickly put to rest once the door pushed back to reveal my father casually seated in his chair (which was conveniently located in direct line of sight of the front door),arm and index finger extended in invitation.
This gesture translated:

It's in the corner.

As a war veteran, former tank commander, and a retired police-officer who also happened to be the single father of a young girl who had recently traded tree climbing and target practice (should it come as a surprise that I both asked for and received a Remington .22 for my 8th birthday?) for lip gloss and talking on the phone, it was a logical progression.

He had a job to do, and he took his roll of gatekeeper seriously.

Admittedly, this method did ward off one or two undesirables, but it is also somewhat of a wonder that I managed to get married at all. 

Can you imagine being the poor guy who had to tell this dad that he would like to marry his daughter?

I am thankful for my husband's perseverance in pursuing me even if my dad did tell him, unemotionally, that "he would think about it" right before showing him the door.

Denfeld, I think that coming back was your first test.

And we have certainly had our share of others in our fourteen years together, haven't we?

From you proposing to me and then having me leave you and the country for a good part of a year, to the craziness of fostering my neice before we even had an anniversary under our belt, to the unfortunate times that you have come home from work and I could tell just by the look on your face that you would not be going back.

After all of the testing I am even more thankful that you were the one that my dad let through the door. You are a great father (to far more children than either of us ever imagined!) and I am glad to have you as my best friend.

Happy Belated Fathers Day!

PS. It might be time to get those guns out of the gun safe- your oldest daughter turns twelve this year.

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