Piker Press Banner
September 25, 2023


By Vern Fein


You don’t get to choose
who your kids marry,
choose your in-laws.
We fathers-in-law meet periodically.

Pete is a give-the-shirt-off-your-back guy,
the father of my son’s precious wife,
which is why we know each other.

he was a truck driver and still spots in some.
I was an English teacher and still sub some.

We meet for coffee,
sometimes dinner,
talk of what we can.
We both like cheeseburgers.
Pete recently lost his wife to smoking.
My wife quit at twenty.

Pete fought in Vietnam,
won't give details.
I was a leader of the anti-war demonstrations
in the 60s.
Gun control
is anathema to him:
Guns Save Lives.
I cite the number of mass shootings
like nowhere else in the world.

Once, Pete lost a job to an African-American.
He rails against Affirmative Action.
He is rabid about the Wall:
Immigrants are dangerous for our country.
I think this nation’s greatness
rests in its open arms.

We both love sports,
but root for different teams.
My team usually beats his team.
We laugh about that a lot.

Our local university sported
a Native American mascot,
which I think is racist.
Pete thinks it’s a shame
the school dumped it.
I asked him to read a book about it,
but he doesn't read books.
He never had a chance to go to college.
My Father made me.

He is a conservative Christian;
He would call me a liberal.
Pete thinks America went downhill
when prayer was thrown out of schools.
I say you can't force people to pray
what they don't believe.

We both love our families
and our grandsons.
He has a great daughter,
a heralded therapist.
My son is a professor
at a major university.
Pete also has a wayward daughter
who will never straighten out.
I had a sister like that.
He listens to my advice,
even though we both know it’s hopeless.

Sometimes Pete pays the bill and sometimes I do.
We always shake hands,
vow to do it again,
look each other in the eyes
with cautious respect,
a kind of friendship in America.

It's what we’ve got these days.

Article © Vern Fein. All rights reserved.
Published on 2023-06-05
Image(s) are public domain.
0 Reader Comments
Your Comments

The Piker Press moderates all comments.
Click here for the commenting policy.