Sunday, March 9, 2008

How I Met Jim's Father

Almost seven years ago my boyfriend (now husband) invited me on a trip up to his land of birth, Canada. We planned on fishing, touring Waterton National Park, and most importantly for me -- a girl contemplating marrying this guy -- meeting his family up there. Jim's friend's often told me, "if you want to know what Jim will look like when he's older, just look at his dad." They also warned me that Jim's personality is a lot like his father's as well. "Alright" thought I, "I will be able to see into the future on this trip to Canada, and discover what my future might look like if I marry Jim." Jim even told me on the 10 hour drive up to Canada that meeting his father would be an experience.

After 10 hours of sitting in Jim's Blue Grand Am, belting out our favorite songs, talking to my oh-so-cute boyfriend, and wondering what his family in Canada would be like, we pulled into his Grammy's driveway which is next door to Jim's Dad's. Jim got out first while I continued to study my new surroundings. I thought that Canada was beautiful in July, but what would his family be like? Then I saw Ross, Jim's Dad walking towards the car. Jim jumped out and greeted his dad with a hug, and I got out wondering what the introduction to my (maybe) future father-in-law would be like. I always thought I would be nervous meeting my boyfriend's family. It turns out I wasn't that nervous, and before I even took two steps out of the car I heard Ross yell,

"CORKY!!!" I turned around wondering who he was talking to.
"CORKY!!!" Ross exclaimed again while looking right at me. I turned questioningly to Jim, wondering why his father was calling me Corky. Perhaps Ross got me mixed up with one of Jim's old girlfriends, but Jim looked as confused as me.
"Corky, how are you?" Ross asked. I'm sure at this point I was still a little speechless, and probably mustered out a nervous laugh. Since I wasn't answering yet, Ross turned to Jim and explained that I looked like someone he knew or dated while in college. This cleared up the matter a bit, and as I was forewarned that Ross liked to give people nick-names I finally understood the matter and answered, "I'm good."

The rest of my trip to Canada was fun. Jim and I did all the things we set out to do. I met more of Jim's family, loved them all, and made up my mind that marrying into his Crazy Canadian family wouldn't be so bad. It also turns out that all the things I was forewarned about Ross were true. He and Jim do share several personality traits (to the amusement of their wives and other family members), and although I don't think Jim will look EXACTLY like Ross when he gets older, you can certainty see the father-son resemblance.

Since that first trip to Canada Jim and I try to go back every year and visit his Dad and other family up there. We've been back for Ross's 50th surprise party, Jim's Grandpa's funeral, family reunions, sisters' graduations, hunting gophers, fishing, cribbage tournaments, floating the river, and more fun. More importantly Jim's Dad and his wife Judy have made it to all of our special events in the States, and we really appreciate that.

I am especially grateful that my father-in-law is someone I'm not nervous to be around, in fact within the first few minutes of getting to know him, I felt completely comfortable. And to this day he still calls me Corky! When he calls me Corky now I actually answer instead of standing there with a confused look on my face.

I guess we just want to say "Thanks For Everything!" and Tralee and The Flea-Bitten Piece-of-Crap especially want to say "Happy Birthday Grandpa Ross!"

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