I recall the day I had to call on all my reserves to make ‘THE’ phone call. It’s the one most men have had to make at least one time in their life. It was in February 1984 and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was going to ask a man who I’d only met once to marry his daughter. My father-in-law was not a big man, in fact he was short in stature. It didn’t matter because as I dialed the number with a shaky finger, he might as well have been King Kong.
The conversation was short and to the point. I was calling to ask if I could marry his youngest daughter. Since he had been robbed of a son by having two girls, my wife was his tomboy. When he wanted to take his motorcycle out for a spin, or take a flight in his Cessna, it was his ‘little girl’ who always accompanied him. If he was under a car working, it was she who stood above and handed him the requested tool. She was the quintessential ‘daddy’s girl’ and I knew it. As we began to talk, he asked me questions along the lines of my present job, my future plans, etc. He finished the conversation by telling me he wasn’t surprised that I asked for her hand in marriage. I mean who wouldn’t want a beautiful blond girl with curls who loved pick up trucks and country music?
Fast forward 27 years and I had this same conversation with my daughters suitor. The exception to his approach as opposed to mine was he used less words. I think he knew it was a formality of a foregone conclusion. The similarities were striking. He no doubt had the same trembling dialing finger, and he also married a pickup loving country girl.
One day a husband and wife were sharing their feelings about their daughter. Their child had been spending far too much time with a ‘less than ideal’ boyfriend. In fact their fear was the relationship was getting too serious. The daughter had called the night before and had told them they were coming over the next day to talk with them about something important. This bit of news alarmed them as they sat up talking into the wee hours of the morning running through the scenarios. Marriage was the only plausible reason for their visit and it made them shudder. Despite their daughters affections for the lad, he appeared to be lazy, undisciplined and rudderless.
Before their arrival the mother said, “Do whatever you can to talk some sense into this boy. I don’t want him marrying our daughter. When they arrived the father invited the young man into his study for a personal conversation. The mother kept their daughter distracted in the kitchen.
Uncomfortable from the start, the Dad started to ply the boy with questions. “It appears you’re here because you’d like to ask for my daughter’s hand in marriage, is that correct?” The young man nodded. The father then asked, Do you have a career? To which the young man said, “Yes, I work for Wendy’s as a janitor.” Trying to maintain his calm the father said, “That’s not much of a salary to support my daughter!” To which the boy responded, “Don’t worry, God will provide.” The questions now came in rapid fire, “Your car is very old, how will you buy another? What happens if their daughter got pregnant and she had to leave the workforce, could they make it? Each and every time the patent answer was the same, the boy would say “God will provide.”
After twenty minutes of getting nowhere, he dismissed the young man. The mother immediately entered the room. Anxious to know whether he’d been successful at talking the boy out of marriage, she blurted out, “Did you talk any sense into him? Is he going to marry our daughter?” to which the husband responded, “I have good news and bad news. The bad news is he’s marrying our daughter.” Instantly she said, “then what can possibly be the good news?” To which he responded, “He thinks I’m God.”