Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Father-In-Law

I shot a hole in the floor of his pickup truck.
He made fun of my 70's wedge shoes.
He handed me greasy Mustang parts to clean in a coffee can of gasoline.
He picked garden vegetables and passed them in a bowl across the fence to me.
He took me duck hunting with his son. I wore his chest waders.
He complained about my illegible handwriting.
He showed me his guns.
He asked me about my jobs.
He teased me for taking so many photographs.
He made me framed copies of his photographs that I admired.
He shimmied closer to his end of the sofa to make room for us in front of the basement TV.
He made things for my garden.
He held my babies and gleamed.
He told stories.
His chair faced the window, back to the door, and there was that flash of pure joy that crossed his face when you walked into the room far enough that he recognized you and smiled and said something like "Look what the cat dragged in!"
The advantage of marrying into the family is that I get to completely invent my own image of him. In my eye, he is possibly smarter and funnier and stronger and wiser and kinder and braver than anyone could ever really be, but I don't mind if my view is a little soft-focus and I don't think he would either.
Remember what inspires you and use it. Tell the stories that you think others can use. Tell them again and again. That's all we can do, let them make us be a little better than we might have been, and in turn, pass that on to anyone else that can take something from it. That's all we can do.