Q&A: What do you always avoid? I’m not usually an always or never person because I know instances can change, but I’m currently avoiding the fact that I was wrongfully dismissed and haven’t been as forward with the people in charge as I should be instead of letting them take advantage of me.
Dad called last night and asked what time I was leaving San Diego and “for where?” was my reply. He thought I could get up at 5 am and drive to Phoenix. I agreed that my last visit in March was too long ago and that I’d start my drive by noon. I had been looking forward to him coming out here and even cleaned the house a bit, but I enjoy the drive and change of scenery, though not the colder weather with the clothes I brought.
I woke up early enough but somehow didn’t get out the door till after the sun was up and in my eyes. I’ve driven this road so many times but somehow today was different. I know the dunes are always moving and the rocks slowly eroding, maybe there are more commercial wind turbines, at $3.5 million each for parts, shipping, and installation, but Highway 8 felt spacious and secluded.
This will be the first time I don’t stop by the Yuma Territorial Prison Museum and Park. Sparky sleeping in the passenger seat wasn’t convincing enough that he felt like running around and the mini train track is a deterrent now with crowds of children and parents waiting for a ride. I need to find a new stopping point because it’s healthy to move around after 2.5 hours of sitting.
I listened to NPR radio hour talk with people about stuttering, clouds, and quiet – which consumed the majority of the drive. On Highway 101 there was an increase in traffic as people are out enjoying Veteran’s Day weekend with their dune buggies on large trailers, in windy conditions, which slow them down.
I’m pulling up to Dad’s place and I think about the time in the airport over 15 years ago when we almost didn’t recognize each other. There’s something about visiting Dad that makes me feel like a child, though I get that nostalgia often, it’s like learning to talk all over again — learning new words and forgetting my basic vocabulary.
He’s waiting on his keyboard to dry when I walk in and I’m glad for the conversation and opportunity to try sugar-free grapefruit SodaStream as the mango flavor tastes like dirt. We walk and laugh as the past and present merge memories for me that deliver a special type of happiness. Dad’s great at offering adventure, education, lectures, crying, and books to read and this trip wouldn’t be any different which is why I love him.
The evening meal at Edelweiss Biergarten, a German and Hungarian restaurant, that replaced Wagon Yard, built in the 50s, when it opened fully in September after changing the menu, interior, and most of the staff will consist of a giant pretzel appetizer and enough dinner that Caroline and I could’ve split a plate, since we got the same thing. Our topics have me laughing out loud, like Mellow Mushroom memories loud. There’s a unique bond so closely shared between parent and child that just can’t be replicated.
Walking beside Dad, so he gets steps and Sparky can poo, and I want to reach out and hold his hand but I contemplate instead about whether I am too old, him not old enough, or do I just miss Caleb. I wash my dirty feet before starting The Rise of Yeast: How the Sugar Fungus Shaped Civilization by N.P. Money next to Sparky who is actively dreaming of barking earlier and appreciating the acoustics of his temporary abode.
I can absolutely tell you – as a Dad myself – there is no barrier to holding hands with your children. Or with hugs. Or with cuddling on the couch. Tactile memories don’t need words and are a form of bonding/rebonding/confirm-bonding/nostalgiabonding, none of which need to be explained away. If strangers comment, the possibilities are endless for hilarity that will only provide more positive memories. Someday those will be all you have. Never hold back on making new ones. They will help you endure to the end till you are reunited.
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