I have Jerry Sloan for a Father-In-Law.
Tough as nails, gritty and hard nosed, with moments of fiery intensity - my father in law has all these qualities.
His name is also Jerry.
He even looks a bit like J. Sloan!
When I first met Jerry, I was petrified of him. He was quiet, but confident and it sometimes felt like he was going to explode on your butt at a moments notice. Of course he wouldn't, but I was sometimes so intimidated by him, I would avoid him at all costs. This, even though he had never shown me anything but quiet kindness.
I wonder if the guys that dated Jerry Sloan's daughter felt the same way?
At long last, I left for two years only to return and re-fall in love with his daughter. I felt as though I may as well have been Greg Ostertag at that point.
Jerry retired very early and as a result he was always around the house. Finding a time and place to kiss my girlfriend without getting decapitated or worse yet - neutered, became troublesome. Perhaps I would be neutered and then beheaded? Anyway, it was probably for the best that he was around.
As it appeared more and more likely that Cathi and I were to be wed, a puddle would form each night in my bed. (Rhyming unintentional) It seemed that everyone wanted to know, or rather, informed me that I must first ask the permission of her father. After all, it was the only manly thing to do. I disagreed fervently and informed them that "he was totally cool with it". Of course, I was only kidding myself. Well technically, I was kidding others too, but they didn't really get the joke as I was the only one that knew the true intention of the kid.
I decided that it was time to man-up and just do it. Cathi had sisters that were married, and their husbands were still alive and well. Surely, it couldn't be that bad, could it?
I decided to do the asking while Cathi's brother was around. That way, there would be a witness. I gutted up my guts, tightened my belt and asked the question. Because of my nervousness and the fact that my belt had been tightened way too tight, I must have sounded like one of the Chipmunks. Not Alvin, or Simon, but that third chipmunk, Theodore. The wimpy, gutless one.
After a very long and awkward silence (I believe that he was in the middle of doing a project and was taken off guard), he looked at me and said, "Cheeseboy, we would be happy to have you join our family." Only he used my real name. And to this day, I think he meant it.
My father in law may have Jerry Sloan's temperament and occasionally he may have Jerry Sloan's mouth. However, I was wrong about him in every other way. I love this guy! He is kindhearted, sympathetic and generous. Most of all, he loves his children and grandchildren more than anything else in the world. He would do anything for them.
Jerry has been there to bail us out of more than enough mini-emergencies. Toilet flooding? Give Jerry a call. Need a quick oil change before going on a road trip? Time to call the Jerr-bear. (Jerry, if you ever read this, I would never ever call you Jerr-bear in real life) Thinking of getting a kidney transplant? Uh, okay, we haven't needed that yet, but if we did, you better believe Jerry would pull out his own and hand it over.
I am no longer intimidated by Jerry. I love that guy. They say that women marry men that remind them of their fathers. Well, in our situation, that couldn't be further from the truth. However, thank goodness he is not like me. His ultra handiness and immensely caring ways have made life so much less stressful for our little family. Really, I don't know where we would be without him. Most importantly - my boys adore him!
My own father is a great man and I admire him for so many reasons. However, my father in law is superb too. I can only hope that I am his Matt Harpring and not his Greg Ostertag.
Oh, and a final word of warning: never, ever, butt in front of him in line. No... actually, I dare you! Make that a tripple dog dare.