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yk9001

My dad

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my dad has a ton of stuff. he's an amateur songwriter who is desperate to get some of his songs to merle haggard, thinking if merle can hear just one of them, that will be the big break my dad needs and he'll realize his dream of being a famous musical writer.

 

my dad has always had these kinds of big dreams. until he and my mom divorced when i was 12, he was always working on one project or another. he is the most creative person i've ever known, ridiculously artistic too. but his problem is that he can never finish anything.

 

he joined the army at the very end of WWII and was stationed in san fran at the presidio, or somewhere near there. he's been on a big tangent the last couple of years to let everyone know that he is a WWII vet, wearing jackets and hats and even making his own cane. he still wears his dog tags. he does all of this because it makes him feel important. if you talked to him, you'd almost come away with the idea that he raised the flag on iwo jima all by himself. this all comes out of his desperate search for people to give him their approval. if you don't offer it to him right away, he'll hound you until you do, and then want you to repeat yourself. he also likes to lecture us about how much he knows. when we visit him, so much of our time together is spent listening to him pontificate about everything. he spends so much time talking about everything that he's doing or knows that it has become pretty rare for him to ask us questions about what we're doing or what we think about different things. my dad really doesn't know all that much about me, my family, or my brother because he never really asks, and it becomes difficult to squeeze a word in many times. i feel a lot of sadness and exhaustion after spending time with him, and i wish it wasn't that way.

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Like Phil said, I've read everyone's stories intently, it's really interesting stuff. I'm lucky I had such a great dad, hard worker, loving father, no vices. If anything he was boring.

My wife has asked me to describe him, like what his hobbies were, or what he liked to do in his spare time. By the time I came around, other than being a lawyer, it wasn't much. He liked baseball, the Angels and the Cubs. He had a horse and liked to ride her a bit and go feed her on the weekend. Other than that I guess it was to watch TV. He liked Matlock. When I had a grand idea to travel or build something or make money his response was always "don't you think that's a bit excessive?" But again, my dad was born in '25, lived through the depression. Maybe only you older guys (baby boomers) can relate.

For you guys with dads alive, despite their eccentricities and surliness, take advantage of the time you have. Being elderly has to be pretty shitty. I'd give anything to listen to the same story I heard 100 times again.

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Really cool thread here everyone.  Some amazing stories.  

 

I am extremely blessed.  

 

My dad is a debonair old school Italian.  He looks like George Hamilton.  Every girl I have ever known has made a point to tell me 'your dad is hot!'.  It's pretty cool because his mom and dad are still around at 97 and have been married for almost 70 years.  His dad (my grandfather) is his total opposite.  At least since I have known them.  My Grandfather is a happy go lucky guy and every meal is 'the best thing he's ever eaten' whereas my dad is more serious and formal but not in a bad way.  He was tough on my sister and I but not so much that we didn't fell loved.  Just didn't want us to be coddled.  It's something that I struggle with in regards to my own two kids.  Trying to stave off the affluenza virus.  My dad was a late bloomer.  Directionally challenged until a stint in the national guard.  He was a fish in water in the military and it shaped him into a successful business man.  

 

I owe a lot of my drive and success to his tough love.  We are extremely close.  I talk to him every day and I consider him one of my best friends even though there is never any question that he is my father and I am his son.  Because he was tough on me it wasn't always like that.  Growing up, our biggest bond was the Angels.  I am not usually one for regret, but to this day I wish I had gone to game seven with him.  I flew home for my friends wedding and the ceremony/reception was going on during game 6.  I was in the bridal party and he and my mom were sitting at one of the random tables.  He was giving me updates constantly.  At one point I looked over at him and he was wide eyed like I have never seen him.  I made my way over and learned that spezio had just homered to make it 5-3.  

 

He and I snuck away to the top floor of the facility where the reception was being held.  There was a club room with a big screen and we convinced the staff to turn the game on.  Within a short period, most of the wedding had migrated upstairs to join us.  By the time that Percy whiffed Aurelia, there were about 200 people in that club room watching.  We hugged it out after that miraculous victory and he informed me that he had two tickets for game 7 for he and I.  Unfortunately, I was a resident and had to be back to milwaukee the next day to work so he and my mom went.  He still gives me crap about not going.  

 

I hope that the opportunity comes around again.  

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My dad was a long-haired Dazed & Confused type dude when I was born. He smokes pot to this day. I found his stash (multiple pounds) when I was 13 or 14. I didn't smoke my first joint until college. When I went through my pot phase I would pinch his sack. He had so much I could take a couple of ounces a month and he wouldn't notice. That went on for years. 

 

In 2005, my brother, my friend, my dad and I went to game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees. I was driving. My dad and bro were in the back seat. At about Walnut and Cambridge in Orange I hear "What is this?" I turn around and my dad is holding a perfectly rolled joint. "I found this on your floor board dude," said my dad.

 

Clearly my dad had brought it along. He handed it to me and said "Cherry that f***er, dude." I can't imagine too many dads have said that to their kids. So we got stoned on the way to the game. When we got to the parking attendant to pay my dad rolls his window down and flamboyantly announces to him that we were all gay and asked if there was a gay parking section so "we could make love."  Kind of a random story but it sticks out to me because that whole scenario was so isolated. He had never done anything like that prior and hasn't since. 

Edited by Adam

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My father changed a lot when I was growing up. He was always a strict disciplinarian but as he got older the pressures of work made it so it wasn't about discipline but proving who was the boss and every one of us opted to move out as soon as we got out of high school. 

 

But before then we had some very good times. He was and still is creative with his hands and could have been a master carpenter if he wanted to be. One year he decided that he was going to create a new type of small sailboat, this after my brother had hand built a Sabot. 

 

So using his skills as an engineer he mapped out in perfect detail what the outer and inner hull would be in dimensions and went to work building the outer hull pip to create the mold. It ended up being 8' feet long and double hulled. and between the framing, chicken wire and some fun playing with plaster the exacting and perfect lines were shaped and sanded to perfection. Overt hat went several layers of hard enamel paint that was sanded and polished to a perfect high gloss. It was beautiful all by itself.

 

Then the the process of making a mold from that required fiberglass. We had never worked with it before but dad had read everything there was available and talked to people in the boat building industry as how to best work with it. So he is reading off the label of the hardener called MEK, how many drops per pint and he has his little one quart paper bucket and he is trying to pour from a 5 gallon can of resin. 

 

So it starts like getting heinz ketchup out of a bottle, really slow because there is no air replacing the volume of resin to force it to flow so he tilts it a little more and more and then all of a sudden that air pocket breaks through and he has resin instantly overfilling the bucket and pouring all over the table. I look and without even thinking I said "How many drops for a gallon?" My brothers were dead silent thinking at any moment my Dad would fly into a rage. Instead he looks at me with that intense furrowed brow and slowly a grin slowly forms and then he busts out laughing. "I dunno, Rick, maybe we need to buy a bigger bottle of MEK?"

 

After a lot of experimenting and too much itching from fiberglass matte and cloth scratches he got the mold formed over the plaster pip and to my surprise the only way to remove the mold was to bust the pip to pieces. I could hardly believe that all those hours to make that perfectly shaped boat form, it had to be destroyed to release the mold that eventually would make over 25 boats. He had to do it a second time to create the inner hull as well but by then a pint was a pint and quart was a quart and there were fewer moments of laughter.

 

Sadly none of us have a single one of those boats, I don't even have a photograph of my own, they are stashed away in the albums up in Montana. 

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Great thread.

 

My dad passed away 13 years ago.  He was a medical salesman and was great with people.  He always seemed to have a friend.  His world revolved around me and my three brothers.  He would wake up every morning around 4, make all of our school lunches and then would head off to work so he could be back from work early to help coach all our sports teams.  My dad had no clue how to play or coach sports but he saw that is what we liked and gave his time to that.  He was not psycho sports dad but he was great at giving us his time and that is a lesson that I carry with me. 

 

In 1999, while working, he suffered a very minor stroke in his car in a hospital parking garage.  It was July and he passed out.  Doctors think he was in his car passed out for almost 5 hours.  He nearly suffocated to death.  He has massive brain trauma, not from the stroke but from the lack of oxygen being inside the car.  All short term memory was gone.  My dad was never the same.  I was the only sibling that was not married and graduated from college so I spent two summers in between semesters taking care of my father.  He had full functions of his body but had to be driven everywhere, meals made, etc.  He was not the same man who raised me but there was some tender moments that we shared.  He could remember everyone that he met before his stroke but could not remember people that he met after his stroke.  I met my wife in August of 2002. My dad met her in September of 2002, it was the only time he had ever met her but he always remembered her name until he passed away in November.  He really liked and talked about her which was odd given his mental state.  I was the only one with him when he passed away in 2002.     

 

The 2002 Angels run to the WS was bittersweet for me and my brothers.  He had turned us into Halo fans and they made their run when we knew he would be passing. 

Edited by Stevestevens

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Great stories, every one of them.

 

My parents separated when I was 2, and my Mom had full custody of me. We moved around a lot in the SoCal area in my early years, while my Dad moved back east. Even though I stayed with him for a month every summer while I was a kid, he never really felt like my "Dad". And although I formed special bonds with my two younger half-sisters and half-brother, I never really felt that special Father-Son bond with him. I could see he was a great Dad, to his kids, and of course to me (when I was there), he was always there for the kids, he would talk to them on their level, and would be involved in their lives. He wasn't necessarily a hard-ass, but he would drop the hammer when needed.

 

As I got into my teen years, I wouldn't get out to see him as much, once I got into summer baseball and all the necessary traveling.  I would receive birthday cards with $10 inside and thinking he could've done more.  Later on when I had time to visit, I would see just how close he was with his other kids and that would make me jealous because I wanted that.  I had a fine stepfather in my life, that became my father figure, but it was never that blood relationship that I wanted with my real Father.

 

My Dad died 7 years ago (age of 55) after battling cancer for a couple years.  I was able to spend a lot of time with him during his battle, and during his last few days.  He was a tough dude, a Marine in Vietnam, and later worked at a prestigious women's College in their building maintenance department. He was super handy, and could fix anything mechanical.  I just wish he had a chance to meet his Grandchildren, since all of his kids have had at least two each.

 

He also loved to party (not in an out-of-control way), and my favorite memories as a kid were the huge weekend-long BBQ parties he and my Stepmom would throw for their friends and my sis/bro's friends. Always had booze, beer, horseshoes, pool, music, dancing, bonfires, etc. in a weekend long party.  It was fun as heck, and  some of my fondest memories as a kid.

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Tank, your father and mine seem somewhat alike. My father was a World War II and Korean War veteran. He enlisted in the Army about six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As the years went by, he increasingly embellished his accounts of his military service. He claimed to have a security clearance that only about a dozen people in the Army had. He also said (often with great emotion) that he had "seen enough killing in (his) life." He would say that he watched men on both sides of him be shot by snipers. I suppose that he had forgotten that he had previously told me about his actual military experience during the war. He was never stationed anywhere near combat. He spent time in Victorville and somewhere in Arizona before being assigned to the Army Air Corps Alaskan Command, when he was stationed in the Yukon Territory. His unit ferried aircraft to the Russians to fight the Germans on the Eastern Front. When he told this story again the last time that I visited him before he passed away, I said to my brother-in-law, "I didn't realize that they killed people during basic training."

 

His service during the Korean War occurred after he left the regular Army and he enlisted in the newly-created Florida Air National Guard as a full-timer, where he stayed until he reached mandatory retirement age. They were deployed to Japan, from where his unit's pilots flew missions over Korea. In yet another embellishment, he said that he would sit around with friends and they would speak only Japanese. My father learned maybe half a dozen Japanese expressions, which he repeated constantly as I was growing up. It is still a running joke between my sister and me that we are fluent in Japanese because that is all that was spoken at home. We sometime still prank each other over it. I once sent her a birthday card written in Japanese, and a Japanese language brochure from Universal Studios Hollywood.

Edited by Vegas Halo Fan

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LOL, that's brilliant, vegas.

 

my dad has such an inferiority complex. when i graduated from college with a four year BS degree, about two weeks before graduation he suddenly stated telling us how he also had a four year degree. We knew it was bull because he dropped out of college and then later dropped out of nursing school. About a month before i got my MA, he started telling us that he, too, had a masters degree. When we asked him from where he got it, he said it was from "the army." His supposed degree is in "Teaching Techniques", something he created for himself apparently. If it exists, and we're pretty sure it doesn't, then we don't imagine too many people in the army are graduating with this degree.

 

i mentioned earlier about him having a cane. It's a cane he made out of an old bed post and it really looks nice. He found a catalogue that sells all kinds of military emblems in miniature, so he ordered a ton of them and glued them on and made it look pretty darn nice. His plan was to make a whole bunch of these canes and then sell them at swap meets. But like so many other things, he got tired of making them and never followed through. 

 

One of the things he created when i was a kid was a board game. It was about the music industry and the goal was to get to the end and have your song published. He made all the game pieces, the cards, these miniature gold records, and so on. My brother and i got a kick playing it, but it ended up in the garage collecting dust because he never followed through with anyone about getting it published.

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I forgot to mention - my fandom of Shigetoshi Hasegawa is a roundabout extension of my father's exaggeration of his knowledge of the Japanese language. After we attended an Angels game in which Shiggy pitched, my wife jokingly asked me if he was my cousin. The whole thing stuck.

Edited by Vegas Halo Fan

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How many of you have unanswered questions about your dad? Topics that are implied off-limits, avoided, etc.

My dad worked for a few aerospace companies on DoD projects. He would be gone for weeks or months at a time, with the usual "destination" being some country in the Middle East. This was during the 70's, 80's, early 90's by the way. The nature of his work has never been discussed. Not then, not now.

I was cleaning at my parents' house one time and discovered some postcards that had been mailed during his trips. One of the postcards had been postmarked in a different country that couldn't be made out. My dad had an "Oh $%#%&" look on his face when I asked him about it. He mumbled something about mailing it from the airport when he changed planes. But not long after, the postcards, all of them, went poof. All gone. In my parents' house is a huge dining room rug from Pakistan(?) that my dad supposedly purchased on a business trip. If true, I'm at a loss for how he brought the rug home. Way too big and heavy to fit inside a suitcase -- it's like a small roll of carpeting when rolled up. Another time, on a trip to "Guam" he spent weeks "teaching a class" which was totally out of character for his skill set and the position he supposedly held at the time.

A number of years ago I was at a backyard BBQ. Off to one side was two elderly men talking. They were both hard of hearing and had to speak really loud. Turns out, they worked for the same aerospace company, same division, same location, same buildings, same years, as my dad. Lots of reminiscing about old bosses, coworkers, and, at one point, mentioned my dad's name just briefly. They were totally oblivious as to who I was, or that several of us could eavesdrop rather easily.

Besides the boring banter, they got to discussing cover stories, which really piqued my interest. The company had employees whose entire job was to facilitate a phony cover to fool family members, friends, foreign spies, or anybody, really, about the true whereabouts of employees while on classified trips. Some of this I knew. One tactic when flying commercial is a convoluted series of flights using multiple intermediate stops to create the appearance of a fake origin/destination. In other words, you start at point A, change planes at B, tell your family you're going to C, but board another flight at point C to reach your true destination at D.
These guys were bitching about how the company failed to provide enough time at the fake destination to purchase gifts for family/friends, mail letters, make phone calls, so their families wouldn't be suspicious. One of the guys was really bitter about a trip that "nearly ruined his life". His sequence of flights was changed at the last minute causing him to bypass the fake destination. He had promised to buy specific gifts for his family there. His cover man back in the USA assured him everything would be taken care of. The trip lasted a long time, and during that period, the cover man was promoted, quit, fired, whatever, and his replacement never got the message. The gifts for his family were not waiting on his desk when he returned to California. He said he panicked and grabbed one of the secretaries and the two went shopping hoping to find gifts that would pass as being ethnic enough replacements. He and this younger hot secretary were in a store waiting to check out when he noticed one of his wife's close friends, clearly pissed off, staring him down in disgust. I'm not sure how the story ended because they were interrupted. Either his marriage survived, or the woman at the BBQ was a wife from a different marriage.

I don't know whether any portion of that story, or anything similar, ever applied to my dad. My gut feeling definitely says yes.

My dad has situational behaviors that mimic PTSD in various ways. He can be very anxious when traveling and that boils over to anger when something goes wrong. That used to piss me off as a child because I didn't do anything wrong, yet he'd come completely unglued and cause a scene. He's very controlling or phobic in some settings, while laid back in others.

The whole thing is weird because those older gentleman at the BBQ gave me valuable perspective (via my eavesdropping) that may or may not apply to my dad. Nevertheless, it's provided me more patience and empathy for my dad, all of which was sorely needed on my part.

Edited by mp170.6

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How many of you have unanswered questions about your dad? Topics that are implied off-limits, avoided, etc.

My dad worked for a few aerospace companies on DoD projects. He would be gone for weeks or months at a time, with the usual "destination" being some country in the Middle East. This was during the 70's, 80's, early 90's by the way. The nature of his work has never been discussed. Not then, not now.

I was cleaning at my parents' house one time and discovered some postcards that had been mailed during his trips. One of the postcards had been postmarked in a different country that couldn't be made out. My dad had an "Oh $%#%&" look on his face when I asked him about it. He mumbled something about mailing it from the airport when he changed planes. But not long after, the postcards, all of them, went poof. All gone. In my parents' house is a huge dining room rug from Pakistan(?) that my dad supposedly purchased on a business trip. If true, I'm at a loss for how he brought the rug home. Way too big and heavy to fit inside a suitcase -- it's like a small roll of carpeting when rolled up. Another time, on a trip to "Guam" he spent weeks "teaching a class" which was totally out of character for his skill set and the position he supposedly held at the time.

A number of years ago I was at a backyard BBQ. Off to one side was two elderly men talking. They were both hard of hearing and had to speak really loud. Turns out, they worked for the same aerospace company, same division, same location, same buildings, same years, as my dad. Lots of reminiscing about old bosses, coworkers, and, at one point, mentioned my dad's name just briefly. They were totally oblivious as to who I was, or that several of us could eavesdrop rather easily.

Besides the boring banter, they got to discussing cover stories, which really piqued my interest. The company had employees whose entire job was to facilitate a phony cover to fool family members, friends, foreign spies, or anybody, really, about the true whereabouts of employees while on classified trips. Some of this I knew. One tactic when flying commercial is a convoluted series of flights using multiple intermediate stops to create the appearance of a fake origin/destination. In other words, you start at point A, change planes at B, tell your family you're going to C, but board another flight at point C to reach your true destination at D.

These guys were bitching about how the company failed to provide enough time at the fake destination to purchase gifts for family/friends, mail letters, make phone calls, so their families wouldn't be suspicious. One of the guys was really bitter about a trip that "nearly ruined his life". His sequence of flights was changed at the last minute causing him to bypass the fake destination. He had promised to buy specific gifts for his family there. His cover man back in the USA assured him everything would be taken care of. The trip lasted a long time, and during that period, the cover man was promoted, quit, fired, whatever, and his replacement never got the message. The gifts for his family were not waiting on his desk when he returned to California. He said he panicked and grabbed one of the secretaries and the two went shopping hoping to find gifts that would pass as being ethnic enough replacements. He and this younger hot secretary were in a store waiting to check out when he noticed one of his wife's close friends, clearly pissed off, staring him down in disgust. I'm not sure how the story ended because they were interrupted. Either his marriage survived, or the woman at the BBQ was a wife from a different marriage.

I don't know whether any portion of that story, or anything similar, ever applied to my dad. My gut feeling definitely says yes.

My dad has situational behaviors that mimic PTSD in various ways. He can be very anxious when traveling and that boils over to anger when something goes wrong. That used to piss me off as a child because I didn't do anything wrong, yet he'd come completely unglued and cause a scene. He's very controlling or phobic in some settings, while laid back in others.

The whole thing is weird because those older gentleman at the BBQ gave me valuable perspective (via my eavesdropping) that may or may not apply to my dad. Nevertheless, it's provided me more patience and empathy for my dad, all of which was sorely needed on my part.

Curious and interesting. All of these are very good. Thank you all for it. Sometimes i feel like I'm the only dude who grew up with the oddball dad or the dad with issues.

The important thing is being my anti-dad to my kids. I attend everything. I'm always there for them, even if I'm a bit of a hard ass. I always tell them I love them.

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I gotta say, this thread has helped me with some of my own insecurities. I sometimes work really long hours, and am often too tired to do anything more than sit down with my kids and talk to them. So I feel a ton of guilt and often think I am a terrible father.

But judging by your stories, it sounds like when my kids grown up they won't judge me as harshly as I judge myself.

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I gotta say, this thread has helped me with some of my own insecurities. I sometimes work really long hours, and am often too tired to do anything more than sit down with my kids and talk to them. So I feel a ton of guilt and often think I am a terrible father.

But judging by your stories, it sounds like when my kids grown up they won't judge me as harshly as I judge myself.

 

You're doing the things I wish my dad would have done more of with me, Phil. My favorite times with my dad were when he would play catch with me or we'd camp out in the backyard, things like that. My issues with him stem from the fact that those moments were so very few and far between, and that his own issues prevented him from trying to do a better job. Keep doing what you're doing, man.

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What an amazing thread. I've been incredible busy getting caught up at work and haven't had a chance to post in this thread. I'll share more about my dad or my thoughts on how he's impacted my relationships with my own kids when I have time to write as thoughtful and as thoroughly as you all have. I don't know if it's the timing of this thread but this might be my favorite all time thread on here, it's truly spectacular.

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This is a really good thread. I am fortunate to have a great relationship with my father who is happy and healthy. As a kid we didn't have a lot of money as my mom was a stay at home mom. We didn't go on family vacations often but he was always there for soccer and Little League games even though he worked a lot of hours. Occasionaly we'd go to Oriole games when I was a kid and I remember a game back in 1981 where my dad was telling me that this rookie was going to be a Hall of Famer one day. That seems kind of smart for a guy who now doesn't know squat about current baseball. The one thing that my father tought me that I appreciate the most is having a good work ethic and accepting responsibility for my own failures. It's worked very well for me and I try to pass the same values to my daughter. Even though my dad is 72 and in good health I try to spend as much time with him as possible whether it's going shooting, golfing, wine tasting or whatever. None of us are promised tomorrow so I try to do the most I can now.

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I gotta say, this thread has helped me with some of my own insecurities. I sometimes work really long hours, and am often too tired to do anything more than sit down with my kids and talk to them. So I feel a ton of guilt and often think I am a terrible father.

But judging by your stories, it sounds like when my kids grown up they won't judge me as harshly as I judge myself.

I only have a daughter but I spend most of freetime with her. She's 10 and she already knows how to fly fish and will be learning fantasy football this season. I want her to have good memories just in case my time here is shorter than I would like. Phil, I think most of us here work a lot of hours and our kids understand why. That's why I spend my freetime with her instead of other things that really aren't important in the long run.

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The times that I treasure most are the times that my father and I did things together, just the two of us. Fishing in the Atlantic off the pier, going to baseball and football games, going to the Air National Guard base. Probably my favorite thing happened around 1965 or 1966, sitting under a wing of an F-102 with a cold bottle of Sprite (glass bottle) on a hot Florida summer day. Weekend at the base and only a few people were around.

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My daughters and i went to irvine park Wednesday night and watched the Perseid meteor showers from about 10p until 1a. Much rather spend that time with my kids, than on a barstool. Grateful to have an opportunity to be a parent.

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My dad and I almost died one summer out between Niland and Glamis. 

 

We were driving to Arizona and decided to take the more scenic route via the Salton Sea.  My dad always carried a DeLorme Topographic Atlas on trips -- for those not familiar, they're the paper equivalent of Google Maps in Terrain View. 

 

Anyways, my dad always studied these maps with a fine tooth comb in advance.  He found a road that DeLorme listed as a paved road that would take us back to a highway going toward Interstate 8.  We picked it up after Niland and had no problem maintaining 40-50 MPH.  A few minutes later we passed a sign that read "END COUNTY MAINTAINED ROAD".  I verbalized this to him to make sure he noticed it.  He did.  We discussed it briefly and one of us said the road beyond the sign was in better shape than the road leading up to it.   Signs like these are not uncommon, and sometimes the government agency responsible for the road forgets to remove signage after upgrades are made. 

 

Another few minutes passed.  My dad was doing about 60 MPH when all of a sudden the road turned to pure sand.  We got thrown around pretty badly as his 2WD truck bogged down and he struggled to steer through it.  My dad kept his foot on the gas thinking the sand was temporary.  We came to a stop about 1000 feet later.  Not only were we in deep sand up to the frame, we were in deep shit.  This was before the days of cell phones, and the area was very remote.  Absolutely nothing nearby.  It quickly became obvious that nobody, not even 4x4's, had driven this portion of the road in days or weeks.  Nobody was going to find us alive.

 

We sat there for a couple minutes wondering what to do.  One of the ideas was walk back to Niland, but my dad's spare water was in military grade 5-gallon canteens.  Neither one of us liked the idea of lugging one of then 10 or 15 miles back to Niland, on foot, in 110° heat.  Five gallons of water weighs over 40 pounds.  We eventually decided to dig ourselves out, or at least try.  Plan B, if that failed, was to hike toward the railroad (closer than Niland) and flag down a train crew.  I spent about an hour collecting trash, wood, rocks, anything, to gain traction.  Using the tire jack positioned on rocks, we raised the back wheels one by one and placed all the crap I scavenged underneath the tires and in the path behind them.  Then we would floor the truck in reverse and back up as far as possible, without sinking too deep again.  We made progress about 50 feet at a time before needing to repeat the process.

 

The physical exertion was extremely taxing in the summer heat.  Really bad.  We took turns -- one of us sitting in the truck drinking water with the A/C blasting, while the other worked.  It wasn't enough.  Both of us were fighting off fainting when we went back to work.  I don't think we completely blacked out, but caught ourselves just in time to retreat back to the truck and rest.  This is where things got ugly. 

I finished another round of digging and motioned for my dad to back up again.  He wasn't doing anything, just sitting there confused and incoherent when I opened the door.  I figured it was heatstroke so I had him get outside while I poured ice water all over him.  A few minutes later, he was almost back to normal.  What I didn't know at the time was his symptoms more closely resembled water intoxication from drinking too much water.  Thinking he was in grave danger, I went back to work, alone.  There wasn't much digging left to do, but I was in pretty bad shape myself beginning to hallucinate.  We caught a break in the final stretch and managed to reverse the final couple hundred feet all at once.  The whole process took several hours. 

 

My dad still speaks of that incident as a father/son bonding experience, something we can laugh about now, type of event.  I poured most of our remaining water on him thinking he was about to die.  Because of that, our supply of drinking water would have run out by day's end.  Due to whatever episode that was, he has ZERO recollection of me pouring the water or how confused he was.  He doesn't grasp how close we were to collapsing and dying out there.  I reminded him of these details in the months after and he angrily said to me, "STOP LYING.  THAT NEVER HAPPENED!" 

I haven't brought that part up since.  And I never told my mother the full details either.  I figure it's best she believe my dad's version of events.

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Fathers are often the great map readers but sometimes pay no attention to the labels.

Case in point my father was involved in sailing and purchased a series of sailboats from a 23' Islander that was trailerable and we stored in our side yard, to a 27' fixed keel Erickson that we berthed in Dana Point harbor to his last sailboat a 33' Cheoy Lee.

Each was equipped with only a compass and the later two with ship to shore radio. The navigation was by map and calculating on paper knots, time and compass readings while tacking. Dad being the analretentive engineer made us keep accurate readings even doing a day sail down the coast, never out of view of land. This was preparation for a trip to Catalina island and eventually further.

So on our third Catalina run Captain Dad had decided we would navigate the entire island and roll out of Avalon to the Ismus then the following day to the less popular backside. We stopped in the boy scout camp for a few hours of snorkeling and had dinner aboard at the small Ismus cove. The next day it was off to the backside for snorkeling, spear fishing and abalone gathering

So Captain Dad, with all of his navigational numbers and charts decides we have found the perfect mooring site for diving. It is a small natural beach area where there was plenty of water to anchor close and no underwater rock croppings.

Perfect by the numbers. Except.

As soon as the anchor is set and the gear is laid out I see the fins and these are not Flippers relatives. Not one or two but five sharp little sails slowly working the area. So I go down below to look at the map to see where we are.

Sharks Cove.

Good old Dad read the map like an an engineer and found by the numbers the perfect place to set anchor.

We, like the crew of the Bounty, mutiny and pull anchor and raise sail to his objections and I tell him to go read exactly where he anchored us. So he angrily goes downstairs and doesn't come back up. Now we are thinking he will be pissed off the rest of the trip.

Instead he shows up about 15 minutes later with sandwiches and says there is a nice spot about thirty minutes up the coast. He was right, we could anchor close, there was a nice beach to land the dingy on. Plenty of fish, plenty of abalone and no sharks. We had a perfect day and the best part was no one was eaten.

Well, almost perfect. My older brother managed to spear fish his thumb and my little brother at the end of the stay dropped his goggles overboard as the manta rays moved in but otherwise a perfect day.

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My mom left my dad when I was four. That was 1968. My mom got full custody and moved from San Diego to Anaheim. Back in those days it would have been almost expected for my dad to just say "screw it" once my mom moved away. But he transferred to Orange County just so he could be by me. He never missed one of my sporting events, school events or extra time with me. He took me on a lot of vacations, including Hawaii. He also took me to numerous Angel games. On my birthday in 1974 he took me to a game when Nolan Ryan was pitching. He jokingly told me that he had spoken with Ryan before the game and that Ryan promised to pitch a no-hitter for my birthday. Well anyone who knows when my birthday is knows that Nolan Ryan did indeed pitch a no-hitter on my birthday against the Twins.

He is an awesome dad.

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