In Case You Ever Want to Date My Sister-in-Law
- Category: Dad's Dirt Roads: A Blog
- on Thu Sep 5, 2013
- by Mark Stephens on Thu Sep 5, 2013 - (1) Comments
How many times have I been asked by single men if my wife has a sister? If I had a nickel for every shameless SOB . . . Yes indeed fellas, she has a sister. Like my wife, she's a 10 on a scale of 10. She's blond, blue-eyed, smart, goal-oriented, beautiful, fit, and down for an outdoor adventure of any flavor anytime. When I got married to Brooke, her sister was in her first year of college and her reaction to our wedding was this: "Yea! It's so great to have an older brother. I have someone talk to about all of my guy problems!"
Or something like that. It was funny.
I won't spill details, people. But she's had a couple of boyfriends who . . . what can I say? I can say they're ex-boyfriends now. We all know that dating is both the best of times and the worst of times. And the pursuit of happily-ever-after is a thrill unlike any other. It's just that some of us get to enjoy it longer than the rest of us.
So over the summer, my wife and her sister took a weeklong trip to go visit family across the country. I got a phone call from the new boyfriend. "We ought to get together for a beer or something, man. I hear you're into hiking, too. If you have time, maybe we could go out."
And our bromance was born. We didn't go get a beer. Instead, we had a few good exchanges about the outdoors and next thing we knew we were swapping gear lists and climbing experiences. Chills ran up my spine. Energy that had been extinguished by my parenting years resurged within me with great ferocity. Could this dude trust me on the other end of the rope? Could I trust him? We were going to find out: let's go do a canyon, bro. And then I ran away with my thoughts. OMG, my potential brother-in-law could be my climbing partner. OMG, we'll spend Thanksgivings in Joshua Tree. I got lost in the possibilities, and I was happy.
So we planned a single-day canyoneering trip in northern Arizona. One morning I picked him up at 6:00 am and we were at the beginning of our adventure shortly after. We parked in a forest of ponderosa, made a waypoint, and dead reckoned to the mouth of a basalt and sandstone canyon downslope. We were soon dipping our hands into a stagnant shaded pool of moss-green water to test the temps — our only way into the canyon, and apparently bottomless, so we'd be swimming it rather than wading it. It was 30 feet across. And about that in fahrenheit.
You've never heard grown men shriek the way we did as we made these swims. Cold? Yes. Cold. The first swim delivered us into an enclosed section of canyon with skyscraper walls on all sides. We were at the point-of-no-return with only one way out, downstream to the confluence, and with each other for partners.
"I didn't know I could scream like that."
"Don't worry. Secret's safe with me."
We trekked 13 hours to cover 6 soggy miles of a technical canyon that dealt us three rappels and countless deep water swims that were mercilessly cold. At the end, we had to bushwhack our way up a canyon to a ridge, find a Jeep trail, follow it to a powerline, take it to the interstate and then cross-country it to the truck. He had it all dialed into Google Earth. Having served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan as a surveyor, he knows how to read a topo map. I was in good hands. And we had a hell of a good trip. We found our beer and pizza in Sedona, Arizona on the way home that night. I woke up the next day with stiff thighs and arms that lasted for days. It was fantastic.
Sadly, they broke up last month: a little hitch in my grand plan that I failed to consider. So I don't know where we stand as adventure partners at the moment. But I've learned a lesson. If you want to date my sister-in-law, the bar is now set. You shall be hazed in this way.