My Dad’s favorite statement was “If I don’t like a person, I don’t tease them”. Well, Dad teased my husband unmercifully from the time we were married until my Dad passed away 3 years later at the age of 52.
The first meal we ate with my folks after we were married, my Dad managed to stick my husband’s thumb into the mashed potatoes when he reached for them, and then once into the stick of butter as he passed it.
When we played games he would pick on him all the time unless we were playing pitch and then it was the guys against the gals. I will always believe that they had some signals that they had agreed to ahead of time, because Dad always knew just what my husband had in his hand at all times.
Mom and I were never able to beat them. My Dad would shoot the moon with only a few point cards in his hand and maybe one face card, and my husband usually had everything else he needed. Sounds a little fishy don’t it?
Wahoo and Croquet were different stories, because it was every man for himself, and Dad was out to win at all costs. He was not above playing dirty to win. If he could move his marble in Wahoo and get it home and win easy or take the same amount of moves and knock someone else off the track and send them back to the start, he would rather give the other person some grief.
In Croquet it was the same story, if he could come after someone and put him or her out of bounds instead of knocking his last ball through the wicket and finishing the game that was what he loved to do.
My Dad knew from the time we were dating that my husband was very particular about his car, and kept it looking good at all times. So he figured the best way to get a rise from my husband was to tease him about his car. When we would visit on the weekends he had a perfect opportunity to zing him.
Every time he came home from work and we were there, he would come in and tell my husband that he had just hit his car. My husband would just laugh and say, “Yeah, Yeah, sure you did”. Then they would move on and talk about other things.
My parent’s driveway was able to park at least 2 cars side by side and 3 cars deep. Mom had a big Buick 4 door that was always parked up as far as possible by the backyard fence and on the left hand side of the drive. We usually parked just behind Mom’s car when we were there, and Dad always parked beside hers.
Dad used his pickup to push vehicles when they wouldn’t start or if they were stuck and had built a protector for the car bumpers. (Yep, we actually had chrome bumpers then.) He’d used a bridge plank and cut it the width of the bumper on the pickup and bolted it on to make a large wooden bumper.
On top of the plank he had attached the rubber from tires to cushion the bumpers of the cars. The rubber tires did not extend all the way to the edge of the plank or around the edges, because he would only be pushing with the center of the bumper.
About two years into our marriage, we were at my parent’s house for supper one night. The minute Dad walked in the door he told my husband that he had hit his car. My husband looked at him and laughed and said, “Yeah, Yeah, sure you did”, and supper went on with the normal teasing back and forth.
After supper Dad had to go back to work to finish a project that needed to be ready Monday morning. Mom, my husband and I went into the living room to visit for a little while before we headed on home.
We had only been sitting down for a few seconds when Dad came back in the front door. He looked at my husband and said, “I just hit your car!” My husband said, “Yeah Yeah”….but was interrupted by my Dad, who was shaking his head and saying, “No, this time I really hit it.”
So we all went outside expecting to see a little dent in the fender or bumper. But what was in front of us was not just a fender bender. Dad had turned the wheels of the truck a little too tight to back out of the drive, and had side swiped the car.
He had started at the front wheel well and had slid the side and unprotected part of the bridge plank all the way down the side and off the back bumper of the car. It had dented in and scraped the whole passenger side.
That was one of the few times that I can ever remember my Dad being almost speechless. He absolutely could not believe that he had wiped out the whole side of my husband’s car. He just walked around the car and shook his head and kept glancing at my husband, waiting for the explosion that never came.
Dad teased my husband about everything he could find to heckle him about after that, but he never mentioned hitting his car again. The one and only fender bender in his life had made a deep and lasting impression on him. To email Sandy: [email protected]