Saturday, November 20, 2010

Of Birthdays and Tennis and the Matterhorn...

Last week was my Dad's birthday. I wanted to blog about it, but I couldn't think of anything profound to say. I suppose I could have posted a picture of him....{this moment} style...but I don't have as many pictures of him on my computer as I would like. So....I did nothing.

Nothing but think about him. And birthdays. And what I would be doing if.

I finally decided to get "off my duff" and, in the spirit of this blog, which is largely about documenting life for future generations, post a couple of Dad stories.

Story Number One: A Birthday Memory

In our younger days we were a tennis family. I think I learned to play in junior high. Maybe Mom and Dad started playing about then too. Then I played in high school. Mom still plays with her friends. And we played as a family.

In my late high school/early college years I began the habit of giving my Dad a coupon for his birthday: "Good for one game of tennis and lunch" or something like that.

The running joke between us was that he supposedly had coupons that he had never cashed in...no doubt due to my busy schedule and the difficulty of pinning me down to plan such a day. I would challenge him to produce the paperwork, and he would say he would...tomorrow. Or that I neglected to give him the proper paperwork. Or whatever might get us laughing about it.

Dad with kids (minus littlest brother not yet born) at Mammoth Lakes, California.
Guess which one is me. 


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Story Number Two: Funny Family Fable Retold Every Holiday

This is not a birthday memory, but one that has come up because of some recent commercials for Disneyland. We grew up in Southern California, near enough to Disneyland to make a day trip. In fact, it was not entirely unusual for us to be driving (to visit family or other sorts of outings) and be in Anaheim, close enough to see the Matterhorn from the road. But, we were not a "yearly trip to Disneyland" sort of family. Mom and Dad felt that would ruin the magic. Going too often made it routine.

To us kids this felt like "we never go to Disneyland", which was not true, exactly.

This all sets the scene for that fateful Saturday that we were driving the family Ford station wagon (the one with the fake wood paneling) through Anaheim, ostensibly to get a part for the car at some obscure car part place. There we were, right next to Disneyland, peering out the windows at the top of the Matterhorn ride, stuck in a traffic jam with all those lucky people who were really going to Disneyland that day.

Dad was lamenting the traffic, wondering aloud how he would get to the other side of Disneyland to the car part store that was supposedly there. Then, whether by force of the traffic jam, or by the mistaken belief that he could get through the parking lot, he turned right into the driveway and headed for the kiosk where you pay for parking.

All the time he is complaining that he is going to have to PAY to get to the other side to get that part for the car. And we kids are in the back staring glumly out the window, wondering at the luck of all these people who actually get to GO TO DISNEYLAND rather than just drive through the parking lot.

It never ONCE occurred to us that WE might actually be going. So ingrained in our brains was the "we don't do that" mantra.

Even when Dad parked the car, we didn't dare to hope. It wasn't until he ordered us out of the car that we began to think we might... we just might....get to go to Disneyland this time. Could it be?

I don't think we truly believed until we were at the ticket booth!

We didn't jump up and down and scream like the kids in the commercial, not our style, but I am sure we had ear to ear grins!

1 comment:

  1. That second story has me in tears. What a love he showed you. In both "keeping you away throughout the year" and in surprising you to such an extent. Precious! The first story has me thinking of the movie Dirty Dancing, the clothes, the music, the cars! LOL! Thank you for sharing these precious stories. It even makes a stranger's heart swell (like mine!)

    On a more spiritual note: what a beautiful month to remember his life!

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