Even 23 years after his death, I still miss my Dad. Memories of him came back when we traveled recently to the Southwestern US. Dad took six weeks off work twice – once to drive my three oldest siblings across the US, and again to take the three youngest years later.
Dad was a family doctor. If you’re lucky, you remember this kind of doctor. He made house calls, day and night, 365 days a year. He delivered babies (including me!) and held the hands of old people in their last days. He accepted his fees in kind- sometimes a bushel of apples and occasionally, to my delight!, in a Boston Terrier puppy.
My parents believed travel to be an essential part of our education. And Dad knew how to make it fun- whether it was waking us early with a glass of Tang – “what the astronauts drink!” – or somehow arranging for a visit to the Iverson ranch where they were filming Bonanza.
When our car broke down in the desert of Blythe California, we simply settled into a motel for three days, playing cards and swimming in the motel pool. When another car broke down years later on a snowy night in Vermont, Dad traded our car for one owned by the local mechanic and we drove on home!
We lost Dad years before his death to Alzheimer’s, but his memories stay alive in our hearts. The gifts he gave us – the love of adventure, dogs, and literature (not in that order), his kindness, compassion, and sense of humor, and yes, his fear of heights!- live on in his six children.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!