From Chicken Soup for the Father & Daughter Soul

Just Between Us

Tis in my memory locked, and you yourself shall keep the key of it.

William Shakespeare

I wish that I could have seen his face when he answered the phone. Even though I was married to Marty, I still called home when I needed him.

“Dad, my garage door broke . . . “

“Well, do you need me to pick up a new spring?”

“No. I think I kind of need you to come over. You see, I had places to go and people to see, so while I couldn’t pull out like usual, I, um, tried to turn my van around.”

“You did what?”

“I tried to turn my van around, you know, like a U-turn. I tried to turn the van and head out the other garage door!” I confessed while stifling my giggles.

For a moment there was silence. I could imagine my father sitting in his favorite chair trying to picture what his youngest daughter had attempted. While he thought, I assessed my situation and concluded there was no way I wanted my husband to come home from work and see my creative attempt to get to the mall.

Within moments my father’s thoughts broke into words. “Honey, did you make it out the other door? What exactly do you need for me to do?”

I took a deep breath and tried to find an appropriate way to break the news, yet nothing came to mind. As I had done my entire life, I swallowed hard and then presented my problem to my father.

“Dad, it’s like this. My van is stuck in my garage.”


“Yeah, stuck, sideways.”


“Dad, I thought that I could turn it around. I simply began backing up and going forward, trying to maneuver my van around so that I could exit out of the second garage door. I had a full tank of gas and I was doing a good job of getting it out myself until now, and well, can you come over and get me out of this mess before Marty gets home from work?”

Within minutes my dad had left his chair and was standing in my garage surveying my dilemma. He scratched his head, placed his hands on his hips and assured me that he had “never seen such a thing.” Then without saying a word, yet wearing a grin that hinted, “now I’ve seen it all,” he crawled into the driver’s seat and began inching his way, slowly turning the van.

I crawled up on the workbench and watched. My dad caught my eye and gave me a wink. Holding my hand over my mouth, I tried to control my laughter as my father repeatedly drove my van three feet forward then three feet in reverse, while maneuvering the steering wheel. I thought of Marty surprising me, coming home early, finding his father-in-law “driving” in his garage and me cheering him on with passion!

Instantly, I flashed back to the many times my dad had come to my rescue, not questioning me as to the “how or why” of my predicament, but concentrating on the “what now” and the solution. It was no secret—my dad knew that I thought “outside the box.” In fact, he’d been one to believe in my dreams, support my attempts and praise my accomplishments. I pondered his patience, wisdom and endless love for me. Today was no different. I knew for certain that, no matter what, I could always call on my dad.

An hour before Marty arrived home, my father beamed as he drove the van out the second garage door and parked it in the driveway. I walked out to meet him, and he rolled down his window.

“Problem solved,” he said.

“Just between us?” I asked, securing our secret.

“Between us,” he nodded. “Yep, this one is ‘just between us,’ because no one would ever believe it!”

Janet Lynn Mitchell

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