To put it delicately, both my father and my father-in-law liked their drink.
When I was about 10 years old, my dad slunk home after a poker game during which some adult beverages had clearly been consumed. My mother met him at the kitchen door. In a long drawn-out way delivered with a warning tone that would have lit up a sober man’s defense mechanisms, she said “Waaaren…”. “Oh but, I won tonight!” said dad, tragically misreading her cues. He opened his coat slightly, and a little brown nose appeared. Brown nose attached to little brown dog. “Isn’t he great?! He’s a manchester/chihuahua mix (huh?) and his name is Skippy. I won him off of Shorty in the last hand.” Well isn’t that just great.
Of course Skippy wasn’t culpable in any of these goings-on. He looked more chihuahua than anything else, and the poor dear was so traumatized by the transfer of ownership that he announced his new place in our household by puking on the floor four separate times. Again, not his fault.
The next morning my mom came into my sister’s and my bedroom with the solemn news that Skippy had apparently already gotten lost. She had looked all over the house for him, no luck. Sister piped up and said “here he is!” He had burrowed under the covers and slept his first night as her personal footwarmer. Dear little Skippy continued to be high strung and prone to the occasional upchuck to prove it. But as most little pet dogs do, he edged into our laps and hearts.
The first time I met my future father-in-law was an Easter weekend. My fiance and I had driven to his parents’ home to introduce me, and we arrived late Thursday. FIL apparently went out drinking with his banking buddies for Good Friday. As I heard the story later, for a prank on one of their buddies they stopped somewhere and bought a baby bunny for the guy’s kids. A few cocktails made it seem like a really funny idea to get a baby bunny for me too. Mind you I was a college student living in a dorm at the time. So, Bill comes home and in a long drawn-out way delivered with a warning tone that would have lit up a sober man’s defense mechanisms, my future mother-in-law said “Biilll…..” “Yeah, isn’t he cute? We named him Chester. Where’s Susan?”
By this time we were late to leave for dinner with some friends. So Chester got a little bed made for him in the bathroom, where he was closed in for the duration of the evening. MIL fumed all through dinner and I tried to keep up a cheerful appearance. To his eternal credit, my fiance was chagrined and probably wondered if this was the end before it began.
It wasn’t. To make the story short, we are still blissfully married. My father and father-in-law have both passed away, after leaving us with many additional funny stories to tell. Skippy lived a long and pampered life. And Chester? To their eternal credit, my cousins didn’t object when we drove by their rural homestead at the end of that Easter weekend and basically foisted a bunny on them. In fact – adding to the stars in their crown – Chester turned out to be Chestette. Which they discovered once they added “him” to their hutch.