Sure Fire Ways NOT to Impress Your Father-in-Law.
From a son-in-law’s point of view, there are certain events, happenings, and/or interactions with their potential father-in-law that are fairly defining of how the rest of his life could potentially play out. One such incident occurred to me, the first time my now father-in-law, Dennis, lent me his truck.
My now wife and I had been dating for a while, and I had worked my way into the good books to the point that Dennis made the conscious decision that I was worthy of this new truck-lending-level designation. Definitely a big moment for me. As he gave me the keys on that snowy, Saskatchewan winter afternoon, my face beamed appreciation and emitted kind words of thanks; while my brain fretted and kept repeating, “DON’T CRASH DON’T CRASH DON’T CRASH DON’T CRASH…” We got into the truck, fastened our seatbelts snugly, I checked all the mirrors multiple times, and headed into town, no problem. We got done whatever it was we were doing in town, and then started home. The drive had gone well, not a problem to be had, now all I gotta do is pull back in the driveway and… *BUMP* err…umm, what was that? Why is the right front tire a foot lower than the rest of the tires????!!!!???
Turns out that the snow had been dumping so heavily that day, that it had literally filled the ditch to a level point between the road and their property, and as I pulled into what I believed to be the driveway, my right front had committed a few steps too early. So there we were, Karm and I, sitting in the truck, staring at each other, on my first borrowed truck trip, and I had just put it in the ditch. Perfect.
Suddenly, but not unexpectedly, who should come calmly strolling out of the house but Dennis himself. Words cannot correctly describe the thoughts that must have been running through my brain. I assume mostly fear and apologies. He, of course, asked me what happened, and I ran down the story. Suprisingly (and quite thankfully) he wasn’t angry, we concluded to begin the process of getting the truck out of said ditch. So we’re doing the forward-reverse-forward-reverse rocking trick, the bouncing the front axles trick, pushing, pulling…all no good. We tried putting wooden planks (that he happened to have laying against the garage, suspiciously) under the tires and driving on them. No dice. Also, it’s the middle of winter in Saskatchewan, we’re outside, running out of ideas, and it’s REALLY cold.
The Dyck’s (folks in law) had invited some guests over to their house that day, who happened to arrive right in the middle of this debacle. The man of that family (who likes to remind me of this incident repeatedly, to this day), saw our problem, asked the obligatory questions, and offered to try and help out. So now there’s three of us reefing on this truck (a 4×4 Ford Explorer, and yes, we tried the 4×4 option, to no avail), and still we remained captive to the ditch. If that wasn’t enough, another complete stranger to me (a neighbor) came rolling by on a tractor, saw the predicament, had a little chuckle to himself, and offered his services. The tractor came in extremely handy, as we rigged a chain up to it, and after some further negotiation, finally removed the truck from the jaws of that forsaken ditch.
My day had started out so promising, I had managed to earn my to-be father-in-law’s trust enough for him to lend me his truck, and then proceeded to deposit it in a ditch, not somewhere that I could have called a tow-truck and covered the whole thing up, but right IN FRONT OF THEIR HOUSE for him, my to-be mother-in-law, the rest of the family, a visiting family whom I’d never met, and a neighbor (who I’d also not met) with a tractor who had to haul it out, all of to which I had to explain this very story to, and who must’ve enjoyed hearing every second of it. And surely in small town Saskatchewan, word of story-worthy events don’t get kept under wraps very long.
I can see the humor now, but man, was I embarrassed. I’ve really been blessed to have great in-laws; Dennis has never brought this incident up to me, and even let me borrow his vehicles again after that. I knew that I had made some positive headway when I got the keys the time after this. Dennis, if you’re reading this, thanks for not ever rubbing this one in, and for being an all-around good dude. I know lots of sons-in-laws don’t have it as good as I do.