Pleading No Contest

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - November 19, 2008
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Like the Jim Croce song goes, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t mess around with the old Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with your father-in-law.” OK, it doesn’t end exactly like that but the last guy I want to upset is my wife’s father.

Don’t get me wrong - he’s the nicest, kindest person I know. But he’s one of those guys who keeps his anger bottled inside. That being said, he’s the only guy on earth that Chuck Norris doesn’t want to make mad.

In my 20 years of marriage to my wife, I think I’ve maintained a good relationship with him. As long as I’m good to his daughter and grandkids, I’m golden. There have been instances when I may have tested his patience although you wouldn’t know it because he’s a gentleman.

The other weekend I went over to my in-laws’ house to mow the lawn. You see I’m in competition with their other son-in-law for an unofficial favorite son-in-law contest. I think I’m currently in the lead because I purchased a new cell phone for my mother-in-law.

Anything that makes her happy makes my father-in law happy. Anyway, I was mowing the lawn and had to open their driveway gate. It’s a brand-spanking new chain-link gate and I accidentally swung it open too far and slightly bent the hinge pole. I went into panic mode, as I knew this wouldn’t go unanswered.

My father-in-law, who was raking the cut grass, came up and carefully eyeballed the pole. He didn’t say anything and walked away. That’s the worst thing that could have happened, and I stewed in the thought that I just blew my lead in the favorite son-in-law contest.

Later that evening, we had dinner at their house. My wife had to run to the store, and she used her dad’s prized mini-van since it was convenient. When she returned I heard some commotion outside, and her dad rushed out to see what was wrong.

In negotiating her turn into the driveway, she scraped the van against the gate entry. Although I was concerned, deep down inside I was celebrating because my wife had just taken all the heat off of me. I marched outside to assess the damage and also offer to pay to have it fixed.

That’s when I heard my father-in-law comforting his daughter, “Don’t worry about it, it’s not your fault. It’s probably because your husband bent the pole when he cut the grass today.”

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