Rules that can save your life

Published 8:52 am Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My apologies for sending out a late Father’s Day greeting to all you dads out there. Hope your day was filled with happiness, or if you’re like me, one simple day of doing absolutely nothing!

I spent Father’s Day where I have since the late 1980’s – at my sister-in-law’s (Ramona Vann Swink) home on Lake Gaston. The Vann clan gathers there each Father’s Day for what can best be described as a family reunion. We grill steaks, eat, and then go out for boat rides on the lake.

The usual crowd was in attendance again this year, including a nearly grown-up group of nieces and nephews. Just looking at those pretty young ladies, including my daughter Danielle, got me thinking about the young men who may find themselves attracted to such beauty. With that in mind, I’ll share with other fathers whose daughters are old enough share the company of a young man a few simple rules when it comes to dating.

Rule #1: If you pull into my driveway and honk you’d better be delivering a package because you’re sure not picking anything up.

Rule #2: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands to yourself, I will remove them.

Rule #3: I know it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off the hips. To ensure that your clothes do not come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule #4: It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house and the only word I need from you on this subject is: ‘early.’

Rule #5: As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process than can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don’t you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule #6: The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter – locations where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. You may take her to a movie, but avoid those with a strong romantic or sexual theme.

Rule #7: On frequent occasions, the voices inside my head tell me to clean my guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit the car with both hands in plain sight and announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car – there is no need for you to come inside.

And, finally the most important one…Rule #8: Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been, but on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel and roughly 80 acres on my farm in Northampton County….it will take decades to find the body.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be contacted at or at 252-332-7207.