"This illness is to fatigue,
what a match is to a nuclear bomb.
It's an absurd mischaracterization!"
~Laura Hillenbrand

June 15, 2008

My Dad

I thought, instead of sending my Dad a card in the mail, I would blog about him!

Here's my Dad in his teens - isn't he handsome? :

He was a wild young thing. His High School Stories sound like they came out of a movie. One day, he drove me past the road outside his High School where they held their drag races. He's also told me about the day there was an earthquake, so the kids were all let out of school early. Everyone was sitting out on their lawns, so my Dad, with his great sense of humor, drove around with Elvis Presley blaring loudly over the radio "I'm All Shook Up"

He's also told the story about the day he picked up 15 girls and gave them all a ride in his convertible '50 Ford! Wish I had a picture of that!

But when it came to really making his choice - he was naturally attracted to this shy, sweet, beautiful girl... my Mom! This is her beautiful SR picture! No wonder he fell in love with her!

They've been married for 47 years, through thick and thin. Through years of my Dad's education at Stanford, through moves, and changes, through more than we ever imagine when we first say "I do"

He always loved his two little girls! One, was so much like his wife - she was his pretty little thing! The other, so much like him (me) - I was his "Let's Go!" buddy!

My mom tells stories about how, if my Dad even touched his keys, I ran to get my bonnet so I could "Go" with Daddy. I also remember Dad coming home from work, getting a diet soda and sitting in his recliner watching the news. As a little 3 year old... I would find a way to climb up on the counter and get myself a cup, pull up my little rocker and hold my cup up for a little of his soda. We'd watch the news together... for all of about 3 min until I couldn't sit still any longer!

I remember Flood's Flying Service and our many flights together. I remember picking out my own log book and Dad would let me fly and log in my hours! I loved those super fast incline take-offs! And we'd do roller coasters in the air... ah... what fun.

I remember the day Paul Flood died. It was a sad day. We listened to the service on the Radio. I never saw Dad cry, but I know he did.

I also still remember the day I finally finally finally, beat Dad in a hundred yard sprint. I was in sixth grade. Poor Dad... he probably had to face that time was passing - but for me - it was one of the best thrills of my life to that point! I got my competitiveness from Dad! I KNOW he didn't let me win. I worked hard for that day!!!!

The first dates I had were our Father/Daughter dates. Sometimes we'd go out for ice cream, but each year, we'd be sure to see the Boat Show at the Cow Palace in San Fransisco. Why a boat show??? I don't know! We didn't own a boat, nor did we ski. We did love to fish together and maybe Dad dreamed of owning a fishing boat - but mostly, I think, it was a place for us to "Go".

I loved those Saturdays that both Dad and I got that urge to "GO"! It was always spur of the moment and we almost always headed to San Fransisco! We had our favorite spots we'd hit and just make a fun day of it! Sometimes we just needed to get away and smell San Fransisco!

Dad and I loved to bike together, and I'll always cherish the day we rode the Wilder's tandem and we worked so hard together that we made it home first (it was always a competition to see who arrived home first - even after a 20 mi bike ride!) I also remember the 60 mi fund raiser ride we did together. Wow was I tired! I remember the first time Dad rode The Davis Double Century (200 mi in less than 24 hours) He and Roger looked like ghosts as they arrived back into town! But as the years went by, Dad's race time for the 200 Miles got better and better. He had a drawer full of t-shirts from The Davis Double Century and a variety of Century rides!

Dad brought one of my top - lifelong dreams to life. In May 2000, just one year before I got sick and couldn't have done it, he took me to England. ENGLAND!!!! The place I had dreamed of since I was a child. It was one of the most wonderful 2 weeks we ever spent together.

My Dad has one amazing aspect that most Dad's don't have. He has a way of getting to be a part of or doing things no one else gets to do. Here you see us having dinner in the Bath House in Bath England. It's only open for dinners once every year... and of course, we were there for that one day! Our hosts treated us to a special dinner overlooking the Roman Baths - lit by torches. Then we walked to the Cresent and watched the fireworks.

Dad could tell you a hundred stories of amazing things he's done. Like being the first civilian to get to fly an F-16. Or being the first non- airline employee to get trained on Boeing's 757. He met the Dodgers Manager AND went onto the field of a Giants game while his mother received special honors for her volunteer work. He was invited to privileged seating at a space shuttle launch - and even better - he had the privilege of getting to land the Space Shuttle Simulator!

I could go on and one about memories and accomplishments. But I must finish this Father's Day tribute with one important fact - THE most important fact about my dad!

When he was a teenager, he gave his life to Jesus Christ. And he has clung to that faith through all of the years since - including the most difficult days he's faced. This is what I admire most about my Dad. This is what makes my Dad special and the thing I will always brag about - no matter what else he accomplishes or does in his life.

Love you Dad!