Wally Anderson, father of three daughters, was not pleased after
reading an email from Shelly, his eldest, a week before Father's Day. He
thought she might be coming to visit for the holiday. Instead Shelly told him
of her sudden wedding to a man he did not know. A Google search told him that
her new husband had two names and that he had married Shelly under the most
recent one. However, the Google search also said his new son-in-law had a good
job and apparently leads a respectable life.
The wedding had taken place on an island in the Pacific. The
ceremony had been conducted by an indigenous chieftain under a gigantic coconut
tree. Shelly had studied anthropology in college with an emphasis on indigenous
peoples so Wally understood why she might choose to marry in that environment.
But the more Wally read about her marriage, the more he felt as if a coconut
had fallen on his head.
This was not the first time Shelly had surprised him. She had
married her first two husbands on the spur of the moment as well. One was a
drunk and the other a gambler. After two marriages of less than a year each,
Shelly moved on with life. And now she had a new husband, albeit with two
names. The first two husbands, whatever their flaws, had only one name each. No
confusion in that regard at least.
So after his daughter sent him a photo of the happy couple on
their honeymoon, Wally did another Google search and discovered not only did
her new husband have two names but photos of him available online revealed that
he resembled Vladimir Putin. This prompted Wally to reply to his daughter's
email by asking why "Vladdy" had two names, giving full credit to Google for
"Shelly, as your father, I have a right to know," Wally wrote.
In half an hour, Shelly sent her father a long email with
attachments attesting to the character and accomplishments of "Vladdy," but
without any explanation as to why he had two names. Apparently, he had taken
the second name as an adult, tossing out the possibility that he was an orphan
from Crimea adopted by some nice couple in Iowa, the state from which he hailed
under the first of his two names. According to Google, he had earned two
degrees from Yale under that first name.
In his next email to Shelly, Wally mentioned that he was still
confused by the whole situation and needed further clarification.
"Shelly, if your mother was still alive, she would want to know
as well," Wally fumed as best he could. He did not want to set Shelly off
because she might disappear again as she had when she was fresh out of college.
She spent three years island-hopping in the Pacific, getting to know the
terrain and the people.
In her reply Shelly said she would "tell Daddy all about it on
Father's Day" when she was coming to see him. Her new husband, however, would
not be coming with her since he was going to visit his father for the holiday.
"They are very close," Shelly added in a postscript.
Wally replied right away, his fingers flying across the
"Which father might that be - and which name does he go by? And
does he live in Iowa or is he possibly a resident of Crimea? A concerned father
wants to know."
Shelly wrote back and bubbled that she would tell him everything
on Father's Day and bring him some fresh coconuts to boot.
Wally realized that all he could do was wait and see. So he
wrote back and said that he'd wait to have her tell him in person.
Shelly responded quickly and said that if it's a boy, they might
name him Walter.
It was obvious to Wally now that this would be a Father's Day
like no other.