Amazing Moments, With Dad

I discovered Rob Brezsney and his astrological wisdom in Philadelphia’s City Paper back in the 90s and eventually he would come to the internet with his Real Astrology, now aptly renamed Free Will Astrology.

My Free Will horoscope for the week (cause that’s how he rolls) is more introspective – some meditations for forgiveness and blah blah blah. Yeah, not today. The last piece to it is to remember 10 amazing moments between the ages of 5 and 13. That is what I intended to do today and NOT blog about it, by the way, but as I began thinking of what could be on this list I realized that many of them involve my Dad. And, since tomorrow is Father’s Day and I quite scared him last night when I posted lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody on Facebook that he didn’t immediately recognize and thought it was a cry for help, I feel I owe it to him to write something nice in his honor. Or at least lower his blood pressure.

Here they are in no particular order…

My first plane rides. That’s plural because there were two. He took me the local municipal airport and we went for a ride in one of those little twin-engine planes that I wouldn’t be caught dead flying in today. We flew over our town and I got to see what the world looked like from above for the first time.

The second time was my first commercial flight on the now defunct Eastern Air Lines to Orlando. Actually the entire trip was full of amazing moments, but it started with this. It was a birthday trip and I was ten. Back then they actually served food on flights, and I had pancakes rolled up with hot apple filling. I thought that was The Best Breakfast Ever, and on an airplane! The stewardess (because that’s what they were called then) fawned over me because Dad told her it was my birthday but also because let’s face it – single HOT dad taking his cute little angel on a Disney vacation for her birthday. The pilot announced my birthday and the entire plane sang Happy Birthday (I was a shy kid and was completely mortified and not a little bit angry at Dad), and then I got to see the cockpit and they gave me a plastic Eastern Airlines wings pin.

1979 – at our hotel in Lake Buena Vista. Flowers for me, Lite Beer for him.

When I was 11 Dad again planned a Disney trip, for my birthday. This time we drove.  After miles and miles of billboard sightings, we stopped at the infamous South of the Border mecca where he bought me a little plastic toilet that squirted water when you lifted the lid. Hey – I was eleven. I loved that thing and couldn’t wait to show Nana no less than eleventy times when we got back. The Magic Kingdom was still magical, though that was all there was then. It is because of Dad that it remains one of my most favorite places to go.

When I was around 6 or 7, Dad used to take us (my then-stepmother and stepsister) to the Catskills to his friend Dunston’s house – in the winter – where a couple of other families with kids would also go. Lots of snow, toboggining, feeding birds from my hand, deer in the backyard, walking on the rope bridge that lay frozen to the pond below, stories by the fireside, digging through Dunston’s paper grocery bag full of collected matchbooks. It was a magical place for nature and winter fun. Faded, but still warm, memories.

Dunston’s house in the Catskills

My first motorcycle ride. I’m not sure how old I was but I know I was very young, and it wasn’t Dad driving but it was because of him that I got to ride on my Uncle Barry’s bike. We only went up the street and back and the helmet was a bit big for me, but it was a thrill to feel the wind rushing around me, back when I had no concept of mortality but only of love and family.

Uncle Barry and me. The only photo of the ride. Unfortunately, Dad wasn’t a skilled photographer at the time.

There’s more, much more, but that’s a sliver of the amazing life I’ve lived because of Dad.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you.

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