Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)
TITLE: Kindred Spirits
By Ron Forbus
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Nervous, yet confident, I drove up the North Woods of Upper Peninsula Michigan on the infamous U.S. HWY 51 contemplating my official visit to my potential father-in law. Sara had agreed to marry me, but wanted her father’s blessing. Lewis could be easily stereotyped as the typical Midwestern father who was a veteran of World War II. I would describe him as a kind, hardworking, quiet, and passionate man with firm beliefs. As a veteran of WW II, he struggled at times with his faith and the conflict of having served as a sniper. His prayers for forgiveness never seemed to be enough. As a naval officer, we shared a kindred spirit in our pride and conflicts of serving in the military.
My mission for this trip was to ask permission to marry his only daughter named Sara. As a father of a young daughter myself no matter what their age they will always be your baby girl. Having an adventurous nature, Sara left the remote north woods to experience the world by serving her country. Seeing his daughter wearing the rank of Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy was a source of tremendous pride. I am sure in the back of his mind was the thought of who will she meet and marry someday.
It would be fair to say for the record that Lewis did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday. He was a sharp judge of character and truth. Sara was calculating to bring me home to the north woods to meet her father and brother during our courtship. His suspected nature of my relationship with his daughter did not over look that I was a divorced father with two pre-teen children. He wasn’t quiet sure what the story was behind my divorce, but more importantly what will be my story with his daughter. I could only suspect that he could sense the depth of our love. And with that his defensive wall slowly began on erode.
After a 5 hour drive in the snow, I reached Ironwood with a rapid onset of butterflies in churning in my stomach. I checked into the Indianhead Motel where I spent the rest of the evening reading my service dress blues to wear to visit her father tomorrow. Sara called during the evening to check on the status of the mission. The mixed excitement and nervousness in her voice was exactly how I felt about the conversation that would take place with her father tomorrow. Needless to say I woke up early that morning and began rehearsing my speech to Lewis. I was now dressed and ready and mission focused.
Driving in a light snowfall, I arrived and knocked on his door. He was glad and somewhat bewildered to see me. Of course, I had my cover story that I was in the area on a recruiting site visit to an area university. His hospitality never waived. As usual we shared cup of coffee and small talk. He sensed something was up. My rehearsed conversation was ready to be put to the test. I spent the next few minutes that seemed like hours validating my love and desire to marry his daughter. With tear filled eyes, he gave me his blessing to marry Sara, asking that I always love and take care of her. I assured him that Sara will always be loved. I remember as we walked to the backdoor for me to leave. He hugged me with utmost love and respect. Three years later, those misty eyes returned as he lovingly held his first granddaughter for the very first time. In the midst of his joy he commented on how her deep brown eyes were just like her mother’s. Our kindred spirit and mutual admiration continued till his unexpected tragic passing.
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