June 19, 2011

Father's Day with Willie

A Father's Day tribute to the two biggest male influences in my life: my daddy, and my Grandpa.  They were not very much alike at all, and their relationship was uneasy at best, especially in my early childhood: one was a hard-working family man, father of five children, and reliable as a gold watch. The other, my daddy, did not take as naturally to the role of husband and father, mostly due to his own inner struggles and issues. He loved me and my younger sister dearly though, and he did the best he could for both of us. Which is all one can really ask.

But one thing both of these men had very much in common was a love for travel and hitting the highway for the next road trip.  Both of them had campers on the back of their pick-up trucks. (I think one had a Chevy and the other a Ford, but I'm not 100% sure of that.)   Some of the best days and memories of my childhood were spent in the back of their respective campers, on the road to the Kern River, or Sequoia, or even, once, Vancouver, Canada.  (My dad took the family to see the World Expo up there in '86. I was 17 and didn't want to leave my friends, and spent a good chunk of time up in the above-cab sleeping area, pouting and listening to The Smiths on my headphones.)  (Which was a pretty good soundtrack for the cloudy and chilly Northwest summer coastal landscapes.)

Both my grandpa and my dad died four years ago, within four months of each other.  Neither of them got to travel much in their last years, but in those  years they did get along better.  My dad shared a lot of his old books on the Old West and Native Americans with grandpa, and they had some times reminiscing about old travels and forgotten back roads. 

I heard this song on the radio the other day, and it made me think of both of them: how they loved this song, and how they were both happiest on the road. One did a lot of careful preparation ahead of time, and the other was a lot more spontaneous. But they each enjoyed some good, good times.

On the road again/Goin' places that I've never been/Seein' things that I may never see again/And I can't wait to get on the road again....

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