Prairie Memories by Gary Heintz: A Little Fear is a Good Thing
Kris has always been adventuresome, serving an eighteen month church mission in the Philippines being one of her biggest adventures. When she returned home, she worked at Mary House while trying to decide what to do next. She always loved working with kids and the elderly, so when she found a nanny position open in Pennsylvania she saw it as another adventure doing something she loved.
The family Kris worked for were doctors, busy much of the time and working different schedules, so Kris had responsibility of their little girl all day long. The family belonged to the LDS Church too, and tried to make sure Kris had time to attend activities and church on a regular basis. Kris would call and write to us, telling us of her new family and what was happening at church. We didn’t find out until later, much later, that she wasn’t telling us all of what was happening in her life.
Kris mentioned, in passing, meeting some of the missionaries serving in that area, but never went into detail. We didn’t think too much about it because missionaries are not allowed to date, so her mentioning a cute missionary wasn’t a big deal. We found out later it was a big deal. Kris met Elder Giroux at church, and was smitten. He was good looking, funny and a great musician. Kris was not going to break any rules by flirting with him, so she started writing letters to him and instead of mailing them, she stored them in a shoebox. When John (Elder Giroux) went home to Canada a year later, having completed his mission, Kris mailed the entire box of letters to him, finally sharing her hidden feelings with him. Two weeks later, John was back in Pennsylvania. After a very short period of courting, they were married in the Washington DC Temple. I forgot to mention, Kris didn’t tell us about this until a few days before they were married!
We didn’t meet John for several weeks after they were married, and in the meantime Kris was filling him in about her family, including how mean I was and how she was afraid I would do terrible things to John. He wasn’t sure whether to believe her or not, and was in suspense the whole trip back to South Dakota. Part of the trip home served as a driving lesson for John, who had never driven before, and had to learn how to drive Kris’s straight stick Festiva. Kris had told him about my love of music and the guitar, and he hoped that connection would be his saving grace.
When they pulled into the yard, Kris came in the house by herself, and we hugged and kissed. “Where’s John?” I asked. “He’s still in the car,” Kris said. “ He’s afraid to come in.” She had done a masterful job of putting the fear of her father into him. She finally coaxed him out of the car and into the house, where we hugged and greeted him like one of the family. It wasn’t until later that night that Kris explained John’s strange behavior. At first I thought it was funny, my son-in-law being afraid of me. Later, I thought this will come in handy sometime, and often remind John to keep a bit of fear of me in the back of his mind. Like I said, it may come in handy, any day now.
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