"When I was fourteen my father was so stupid I could barely stand to have the old man around. But by the time I was twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in the last seven years." -Mark Twain
it's funny how much you think you know when you're a kid. all that energy and will-power... you're ready to conquer everything... go everywhere... and you already have all the answers. i had this "problem" as much or more than any other kid. i was head strong and out-spoken... my dad and i butted heads a lot back then. i remember so many granules of wisdom he gave me over the years, that i thought to be completely wrong. and i told him so. by the time i was 18, my head and heart were so far from the tiny town i was anchored in, that i truly believe i wasn't even really there.
fast forward 20 years of full on living on my part... i have been around the country many times. i have a really open mind and have lived a very open and eager life. i have friends from all walks of life. and i suppose if i am honest with myself... i have been several different versions of myself over those years. but in all of that searching and learning... i have found something to be true... dad and i are kindred spirits. my opinions are often almost frighteningly parallel to his.
dad still lives on the same dead end dirt road he grew up on. the one i grew up on. the one my grandparents lived on... not more than a mile from where his grandparents first settled their farm. the things he loves most... are some of those that i love most too. watching the clouds roll in on the night of a big storm. i've spent hours watching the sky turn crazy shapes with him in our backyard. he's the reason i wanted to be a meteorologist as a kid... he taught me, maybe by accident, to love fast old cars and open roads. he's the reason i feel ridiculously happy on a cool night listening to old country records. dad taught me to love and respect nature. he understands why i collect feathers and rocks... why every time i go home to visit i leave with my arms full of sticks and leaves... he is honest and loyal. he believes in hard work and values good old friends and his family.
dad has romantic ideas about alternate lives... the two i hold on to most... wanting to disappear somewhere in the middle of alaska... build a tiny cabin and just be.... the other, driving an 18 wheeler for a living... nothing but the vast empty spaces of the west for an office.
thank you dad, for taking me camping and fishing more times than i can count. for teaching me to dig my own worms and bait my own hook. for not letting me just say "ewwww" when i caught a fish but teaching me to clean them and cook them... for treating me just like you would a son. thank you for taking me backpacking in the mountains. for loving all the most beautiful and simple things in life...the things that really matter. it's taken me a lot of years to figure out what you've known all along. that at the end of the day... if you can have lightning bugs outside your window... food that you grew yourself... a happy tune on the radio... and someone you love beside you... there isn't much else to want for. thank you for trying so hard all these years to show that to me ... i understand now. and i love you.