Some of my most favorite memories are the golf games, ping pong games and motorcycle rides. I also enjoyed trips in the plane, the hike up to an Indian ruin, working together on projects or even the yard.
Several years ago, Ron called me and told me I should get a motorcycle. He and Dad were going to take a road trip and I should try to come along. I knew, as soon as I heard about it, that I wanted to go. I could imagine that these trips would prove to be great times together for the three of us. That proved to be true. During four years, we made road trips together. The first year we went up through Utah, as far as Wyoming and back down through Colorado. The second year took us on a hot trip into southern Arizona. Uncle Sid was able to join us for some of both of these trips.
The third trip was back to Utah to enjoy the back country on the winding roads with the great mountain scenery. We hit some National Parks and other such things, but the destination was not the trip - the journey was the trip.
The fourth and final motorcycle road trip with Ron, Dad and myself was into Nevada and going to Death Valley. This trip took place about the time Dad turned 81. That is quite amazing in itself, that he was strong and healthy enough to tackle something like that.
All of the trips were special, mostly for the company I kept. Great times!
Ping pong - Growing up, from 1961 and forward, ping pong was part of the picture. The table was always ready and waiting for the next re-match. The basement holds great memories, not only with ping pong but with pool and bumper pool. The juke box would be blasting hits from the 60's and 70's, always with the bass turned up and the house vibrating with the beat of the music.
Dad was always good at ping pong. As Ron grew up their games became more competitive and exciting. The same with me. The more I played and the older I got, the more fun the games were. At some point, I was able to win some of those games. But, for some reason, by the time we got upstairs, Dad would have a memory lapse and deny it ever happened. Great times!
Golf - There are lots of stories to tell about golf games and at some other time, I will add others. Golf became part of our lives in the early 60's due to Dad helping develop the local golf course and the rest of us getting to play for free as we grew up. Since none of us were golfers, it took awhile for any of us to get up to speed. Over the years, Dad and Ron and I had a lot of rounds of nine holes. Whether it was Twilight League on Wednesday afternoons, games just for fun, or an occasional tournament, we spent a lot of hours on the golf course. Each of the three of us had our own strengths: Ron was the long ball hitter but lacked some control, Dad was dependable at being in the middle of the fairway, and I became a good putter once I finally reached a green. I had to concentrate on the only part of the game that my small size was not a handicap and putting suited me well.
Golf, like ping pong, was something it took years for Ron or I to be able to beat Dad. Even if one of us were ahead with only a couple holes to play, Dad found some way to talk us out of a key shot or help us feel the pressure of the last hole having a water hazard. Talk was another of his strong attributes in the golf arena. Finally, youth and skill outlasted age and talk. Great times!
With the fun times we have had, some of my cherished times are sitting and talking with Dad. God has blessed him with the ability to understand the Bible and teach others the things of God. He has wisdom that he will share, if asked. He has understanding gained through experience. He has the love and compassion of a great Dad and Grandad.
Dad and Mom are looking at 63 years of marriage this October. That is even older than I am! They have been an example to five kids, a bunch of grandkids and now some great-grandkids, and a lot of others along the way. Their home always feels warm and welcome to family and friends. It is the only place that the grandkids know of the two of them ever being - same house since 1961.
Happy Father's Day, Dad! Thanks for all the great times.