Today I raise an imaginary glass of red wine (perhaps Mettler, maybe Frank Family or hell, how about some Silver Oak for the occasion) to my father. Perhaps because my dad was often very busy with work when I was younger, some of my most vivid and lingering early memories are of the times that we did get to spend together. They are some of my favorite memories. I remember throwing rocks with my dad, the scent of the "yellow car" that we'd often go for weekend drives in, eagerly listening to him tell stories of his childhood horse, Ol' Charlie with the accompaniment of his fingers drumming up and down our spines to demonstrate how Ol' Charlie would gallop across the field, how he tirelessly put together not one but two Barbie Dreamhouses one Christmas and also how he relentlessly told my sister and I that we could do anything that we wanted to do and always encouraged us to be self-reliant.
Being with Philip for the past several years and watching him go through what he goes through to be a doctor has had the really nice side effect of giving me a newfound respect for all of the hard work my father has done.
Some of the most bittersweet moments of life occur at the intersections in the parent/child relationship. As a child, your parents are alien authority figures, completely unrelateable but fairly tolerable and occasionally fun to be around. When you become a teenager, you're the alien unable to figure out why you must continuously suffer the horror of your idiot, know-nothing parents. Usually once you get to college age you've figured out that your parents are smart, but they're just too damn *old* to be relevant. And then, the next thing you know, you're getting old and they're getting old and all of those differences have somehow become similarities and you think "damn, I hope they don't plan on dying anytime soon."
I am proud to say that the older I get, the more I realize the commonalities my father and I share. We definitely have our share of differences, but I like that, too. My dad is a really, really neat person and quite the individual and I really like that about him. For instance, here's a little tidbit. My dad has nearly preternatural detection capabilities for flying aircraft. He is like the equivalent of a pointer dog for airplanes. You might be sitting out on the porch having a good laugh, or walking into a grocery door and suddenly Dad will stop stock still, shield his eyes from the sun and stare straight into the sky. Then he will not move again until the airplane has completely vanished. So, depending on the weather and cloud cover (which he will very eagerly update you on at any given time from the convenience of the radar on his phone--the only requirement he has for a cellphone or any electronic device, really) he could be standing there for awhile. And, just in case we doubt the identity of the flying object, he will usually intone "aaaaaiiiiiiirrrrplannnnne" for our benefit. I've never met another person that does such a thing. That's just damn quirky. I mean, in his 40 years (hahahaha!) I have never seen him miss an airplane sighting.
Hmmm, I should probably call the Huntsville Airport and ask them to kindly instate a no-fly zone over the church and reception site on the day of our wedding lest such a moment happen during our father-daughter dance. :)
Anyhow, so here's to my dad on Father's Day: I wish you many more airplane sightings that stop you in your tracks, many happy hours of flying before that last flight out, and a good glass of wine on the screened porch with the softened fingers of twilight to smooth away the particularly long days. Cheers!