A Letter To Dave
by Skyla Beranich
I’m Still Pretty New To This Family, But Let Me Take A Moment Of Your Time To Tell You A Bit About Mr. Father-In-Law from an outsider’s perspective. Before I can do that, I should probably give you a bit of backstory so it doesn’t seem like I’m some random weirdo who just walked in off the street and took the podium. Not that I don’t think it’s possible for such a thing to happen, given how he’s so kind he’d make friends with a tree in a heartbeat. Which is a true story.
I’m Skyla, his daughter-in-law. I met and married his son like seven-ish years ago, maybe? And he can feel free to jump out of the Ether at any time to correct me if I’m wrong. I barely remember my own anniversary every year.
Through-out this, you’ll discover as Mr. Father-in-Law did that I’m weirdly respectful. I was raised very firmly to use ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ or respective titles, so before I married his son, he was always ‘Sir’ or “Mr. Beranich”.
Once I married into the family, he said, “I guess it’s either Dave or Dad now.” while cracking his fingers.
I replied, “Yes, sir.”
He said, “Let’s practice. DAAAAVE. Come on, you can do it.” He was teasing me in that sort of voice you use on an infant.
“D—-------Mr. Father-in-law.” I said.
So that’s sort of how he became Mr. Father-in-law, and Mrs. Beranich became Mrs. Mum-in-law.
We handcrafted two small mortals for Mr. Father-in-law and Mrs. Mum-in-law. I use the term ‘for’ loosely, as we have yet to convince them to take our crazy, sassy, independent humans off our hands so we can jump on broomsticks and flee like bandits to discover our childhood dreams of being circus performers in Vegas. Mr. Father-in-Law said we were already ringmasters and congratulated us.
In my life, I’ve met a couple-few mean persons, and I’m sure we all have. Mr. Father-in-law wasn’t one of those. He would always jump in the car and be there for us. When the plumbing mysteriously sprung a leak in our house, I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually yeeted his wife in the car and outran the police in two counties because they arrived at our house so fast. His own son hadn’t even been able to get home from work yet and he was there for me to help me sniff out the source of the leak. Oh, sure, he trolled me about it, asking why I was turning my basement into a bathtub, but he took the opportunity to troll me liberally.
When I tore down some wallpaper from my hallway and unveiled a space where a lightswitch once was with some wires sitting in the open hole, he once again strapped Mrs. Mum-in-law to the roof of the car and zoomed right over to make sure the outlet wires weren’t active.
And since I’ve been working on remodeling my house for about a year now and haven’t finished that wall, I’m pretty sure I better get my butt back in gear and finish before he jumps out of the ether to tell me off. I know he’s already seething that I didn’t use a potholder under my teapot this morning, so I’m on thin ice as it is. If anything is capable of summoning him back from the Ether, it’s probably the Lucky Charms my kids left under the couch. Mrs. Mum-in-law won’t have a moment alone now because her bird likes to poop on the linoleum and leave seed shells on the carpets. So there’s also that minor detail.
He spent years serving as a proud firefighter… although from what I gather, that’s more because when he tried to quit his boss was just like, “No.”
He started to teach me to shoot a gun, even generously saying I’m not bad at it.
He loved his kids. Rachel, his eldest. They didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but he didn’t want his kid to be an exact replica of himself. He wanted her to be capable of thinking for herself, and to grow into an independent woman.
Jarred, his youngest. I hear he was quite the trouble-maker. Whether he was getting his big sister into trouble, or trying to burn the house down… Honestly, I’m kind of surprised from some of the stories that Jarred isn’t an inmate. Joking aside, Mr. Father-in-Law loved disappearing into the Man-Cave, aka the Gun Room, with Jarred and talking gun stuff for hours.
He loved his grandkids, Charlotte, Vivishion, Pixelterra, and Olive. Although he, admittedly, had no idea what to do with them until they could walk and talk. We would put a baby in his lap and a few minutes later we would hear, “PAAAAAT, ITS PUKING AT ME!!!! HELP!!”
And the story about befriending a tree? It’s not an exaggeration. He let me have a bit of his yard to plant an apple tree for Vivishion’s Grounding Tree. He didn’t want a tree. But he let me do it. Then he babied the tree after deer got to it. This is the kind of guy he is.
He adamantly didn’t want a dog. I accidentally revealed that he was getting a dog. He didn’t know yet. He was maaaaad. Then five minutes later, he met Willow, sat down on the stoop next to her, and that was the end of that conversation. He was in love. Watching him fall in love with Willow was amazing.
When he visits your house, you might not have noticed this, but he’s like the calculated Sherlock Holmes or like a sneaky thief. However, instead of searching for clues to murders or scoping out every single exit in the room, his skillful sweet tooth and super sniffer has sussed out where all the treats have been hidden. He’ll take a beer if you have one for him, and he certainly won’t turn down a frosted sugar cookie.
But in the time I’ve known him, I can tell you his leading lady is Mrs. Mum-in-law. You may know her as Pat, Patty, Patricia, Mrs. Beranich, or the take-no-shits C.O. from the Redgranite Correctional Facility. He called her wife, love, and partner in crime. Ironic since they were both in law enforcement… When they weren’t working at the prison, they’d go for drives. Mr. Father-in-law would stop for every snake and turtle in the road. And Mrs. Mum-in-law would stop every twenty feet to take pictures of birds. It was always a surprise to hear they could make it as far as Sun Prairie or Lomira in a day.
And let’s be honest. Dave is–there, I said it, sir–Dave is going to be looking for you, Pat. In your next life, you two are destined to meet again. And until that happens, he’s going to be here to listen to your ‘nagging’ as he called it, and to torment Nico the bird. And the heavens won’t save him from your wrath if anyone lets the bird outside, because just like he said. You’ll raise him from the dead just to shoot him if the bird gets out.
So when you visit her… for Dave’s sake, don’t let the bird out.
In summary, Dad. Dave. Mr. Father-in-law.
He’s watching over us from the Ether, and you can damn well bet he’s gonna come out the Ether to nag you if you don’t use a coaster under your teapot on the counter. So on February 12th, put a plate of sweets and a beer out for him.
I’m going to go finish the wall in my house before he has an aneurism in the afterlife. Might have to put a biometric lock on the sweets cabinet too.