Monday, June 16, 2008

A Father's Day

Summer of 1968. It was a summer day - not sure which day of the week though it was probably Saturday. Probably late June or mid-July. In our neighborhood, parents sat out on the front steps and kids played in the neighborhood.

Why the following happened, I don't remember. We were talking, my parents and I about something lost to the past. My father looked at me and asked, "want to take a walk?" It was a very surprising question but I said yes. We took off and I looked back at my mother once or twice and she just shrugged her shoulders.

We walked down 63rd Street, heading west. We talked about things, another topic lost to history. About 5 blocks later, we were coming up on the local movie theater. I commented that I wanted to see one of the movies on the double feature. My father said, "let's go." Shock. Awe. Cool.

What were the two movies? 2001, A Space Odyssey and The Green Berets.

I was looking forward to 2001. But I feel in love with sci-fi that day and John Wayne by that evening. A couple of years later my father would teach me to golf. Well, teach is a strong word, he gave me a chance to swing clubs at a ball.

Today, sci-fi and golf are my favorite past-times. And while the Duke has passed on, I have a collection of his work and I like it all. The Green Berets were a little seed that eventually grew and bore fruit - I joined the Air Force at 19. A personal obligation to Peter-son.

I have told my father this several times, but it bears repeating. Parents touch their children in unremarkable, but indelible ways. An afternoon walk and a couple hours in a theater gave me passions that have stayed with me for going on 40 years.

We went camping virtually every year when I was growing up. Several weekends a month and two weeks at the beginning of summer. Fishing, camping, swimming. I love the summer and outdoors. My father cared more about us growing up than stuff or position. In the end, the Jones' were much poorer than my family.

Dad isn't perfect, no father is. But let me be very clear - in all my travels and with everyone I have ever met, I have found no equal to my father.

Happy Father's Day Dad. You earned it.