All in the Family

On my way to vacation three weeks ago, I met my family in the Omaha airport bearing precious gifts of cheese and caramel popcorn. There was hugging and kissing, my brother took his pre-flight Xantax, my mom had a minor panic attack when boarding commenced while my father was off buying a doughnut. We all made it on the plane though. About halfway to Colorado, my father said to me, in a suspiciously casual tone, “We’ve decided to rent two cars this year… More freedom.”

“Makes sense.” I confirmed.  It was a little irrelevant but I rationalized that we had two entire weeks for working up to the big topics.

“You know,” my father began again, “spouses can be listed as additional drivers at no extra cost.”

“Yeah?” I wondered briefly if he had taken some of Dylan’s Xantax.

“I don’t want your mom having to drive, but it costs ten dollars a day, adding non-spouses…” Suddenly I saw it:

My father’s devotion to my mother coupled with the manic pleasure he derives from a two-for-one-deal.

“… It’s, um, interesting,” he continued, “If we add Dylan to the rental agreement as your husband, we could save almost 80 dollars.”

This is my father, who will proceed to order five appetizers and two desserts before dinner every night this week, never mind the cost. This is my father, who will drop hundreds of dollars on a Cuisinart ice-cream maker for two little girls with whom he once enjoyed an afternoon of ice-cream making. This is a man whom the Sam’s Club managers know by name, who once shoved a twenty dollar bill into my friend’s hand because Michael had packed lunch on the day my father took everyone out, who will spend his week pressuring me to spend his money. But Sid Shoemaker cannot pass up a deal. And I cannot pass up a good story. So we decided that I was now Dylan’s wife and Dylan was too strung out on Xantax to fight us.

In the train, on our way to Enterprise Rent-a-Car, we (and by “we”, I actually mean my father and I) planned the details of our escapade. At one point, it was suggested that my father take the second car with me as his spouse. I nixed the idea immediately, “I have no problem being married to my brother but being married to my father crosses a weird line for me.”

The other passengers gave us a wide berth.

We arrived at Enterprise and I followed my father– excuse me, father-in-law– to the counter.

“So you’ll be driving the first car?” the woman asked dully.

“Yes,” I squeaked. “Me. And my husband. My husband, Dylan.” I ended emphatically.

It was at this point I realized my ring finger was bare. I was, however, wearing an antique spoon-ring on my thumb. So as the Rent-a-Car lady searched for their cheapest-compact-honeymoon-getaway-car, I surreptitiously transformed my monstrously oversized spoon-ring into a wedding band. Dylan, apparently, had passed on the traditional diamond in leiu of something… funky and eclectic that, in no way, fit on my ring finger.

“And, what is your husband’s phone number?” I snapped to attention, nearly losing the spoon ring to gravity.

“His—His number? Uuuummm. I don’t actually know!” Massive grin, “Let me look that up! I’ve had his number in my phone since the day we met! Baseball game…” I elaborated vaguely, as I leaned longingly against the counter, overcome with fond memories of my faraway love in the parking lot.

Just then my partner in crime re-appeared, “Jess. We can’t put Dylan on either of the cars.  He isn’t twenty-one.”

My husband couldn’t even drink at our wedding. Classy. Everything my parents ever wanted for both their children, I’m sure.

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