Once upon a time, there was little girl named Barbara who grew up in Pennsylvania in a family that was huge both numerically (3 sisters and 4 brothers for a total of 8 kids strikes me as a very large family) and physically (Barbara grew up to be 6’ tall barefoot and I hear that she’s the runt of the litter). Sadly, Barbara’s father was, from everything I’I've heard, a total no-goodnick (there are quite a few other terms that come to mind, but whenever I talk about Barbara, I really try not to swear). Barbara has told me that her most vivid memory of her father is running and hiding from him because he would beat his wife and children. I note that this guy didn’t even have the alibi of being a drunk or a druggy. A great many women from that sort of family grow up and spend the rest of their lives marrying carbon copies of their abusive fathers. Barbara proved a dramatic exception. I kid Barbara frequently that, if I could convert her life-choices into a chemical formula, I’d put it in the water supply for the entire world.
After graduating from high school, Barbara went off to college and earned a degree. Then, relatively late in life, she enlisted in the United States Navy. At this point, I’m sure many of my readers are wondering when her handsome prince is going to show up. Ironically enough, she hooked up with a guy who used to brag about how ugly he was. One of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children. USMC. It is common knowledge that United States Marines have a well-deserved reputation for being very tough customers; Barbara hooked up with a guy who was known to be The.Guy.You.Did.Not.Mess.With. PERIOD. After they became an item, they acquired the unofficial nickname of the Beauty and the Beast. Barbara had achieved many a tall girl’s dream: a significant other she could wear her high heels with. The best joke I heard about them was, that when Barbara was a little girl she was badly frightened by a grizzly bear. So, when she had a suitor that grizzly bears were scared of, how could she pass that up? I have heard that at first the Sergeant told her, “Let’s not get too serious about this;” three months later he was proposing. Barbara did not rush into anything; she made him propose three times. She told me that what sealed the deal was when the Sergeant took her home to meet his mom and dad and she discovered that the Sergeant’s father was what I would call a XXXL teddy bear.
Some of the people with whom I have shared this story say that any man that proposes only three months after meeting a woman is crazy. To which the Sergeant replies, “Crazy? Crazy like a fox!” I’m happy to report that this next Valentine’s Day will mark their 31st anniversary, and they have three completely off-the-charts terrific children (the youngest of whom is about to graduate from San Diego State).
I heard that while planning their wedding, Barbara told her fiancé that she did not want to invite her father to the wedding. When her fiancé asked why, she explained what a dreadful parent that man had been. The Sergeant considered this for a moment then asked, “Do you want me to straighten him out?” It’s a good thing for her father that Barbara is a kind, gentle, forgiving and absolutely exemplary Christian woman. If she were not, her nasty old father would have gotten a Book of Revelations ass-whooping.