My father is a unique man. For so many years he has reminded me of a cross of Steve Martin, Harrison Ford and Johnny Cash (though I'm not sure he'll appreciate the latter since I've been told he's not a fan of his music). But more than that, he has been an example of living a full life because, well, isn't that the ultimate point of it all?
Most of my memories of him are not necessarily long sagas, but brief flashes, a collection of moments strung together that abide to no chronological constraints.
There are early moments that take place at our family cabin in the Sierra Nevadas. He is giving my sister and I wheelbarrow rides or that time I was working along side him in the garage while he builds new shelves and I am constructing my own concoction with wood and nails.
There were the countless moments at the airport where he worked. We would take the golf cart for a spin around the hangars. We would race along parallel to the landing strip, attempting to get as much speed as a golf cart is capable of, and jumping the dips. We would climb into helicopters and private jets, pretending to take flight on our own adventures. I assume it was my fathers influence that for most of my childhood I dreamed of becoming a pilot flying jets for the Air Force and a slight obsession with reading World War II and adventure novels.
There are moments from car shows, museums, motorcycle rides, the Monterey Aquarium, Old Sac Town, and the beach at Half-moon Bay, like that time my sister flung her car door open at an ice cream shop and dented the brand new car of a gentleman whom happened to be sitting in the car. Or that one trip to Hawaii when my 13yr-old self was mortified my father decided to wear a speedo to the beach. They aren't all shining moments but its funny the things the mind chooses to hold on to.
I remember well many times spent with him and my step-mother on their sailboat. Once they moved onto it full time, many of my summer moments consisted of walking the docks of the marina or taking weekend cruises to the channels where we would kayak, play endless games of dominoes (a game who's rules are now shockingly fuzzy to me) and surfed the waves of cargo ships in the dingy. And lets not forget about impromptu lectures on life and facing your fears.
Our lives have been interwoven oven over the years, paths diverging at times. It began with our move to Alaska with my mother, then back again in Montana, and once more here in California. In our time now I am gifted the privilege of seeing him with my son. There are no words to express the joy it brings me to return to the same airport we frequented when I was a child, to see my father take Noah for golf cart rides and tours around all the hangars and to see the excitement that only airplanes, motorcycles, and race cars can bring. A quality they will forever share. I too still feel it.
While he was not always present, my father was, in many ways, one of my strongest role models. Regardless of all of the missteps we think we take in life, the biggest thing my father has taught me is to live. To live your life how you see fit and always with a dash of adventure mixed in. And to push, push through fears and irrational self-conciousnes and excuses because they will do nothing but hold you back.
So Thank you, Dad, for everything you've given me. And Happy Fathers Day. Today is for you, a man that has showed me you are never too old to race cars over 200 mph.