I was on my back driveway last night watching three or four of C-17 Globemasters landing at McChord Field one after another, their landing lights shining behind some low clouds, and thinking what an awesome sight it must be from up there; turning and banking over the cities and bays and islands of Puget Sound. Once again, I remind myself I could have joined the Air Force and maybe, possibly have seen it for myself (but who am I kidding… Dad was an Army guy through and through. He’d have given me an immense amount of shit if I’d joined any other).
But I didn’t serve. And that might be more of a good thing than bad I guess (but the fact is I could
have use d a severe ass-kicking at the time , and boot camp might’ve been beneficial). More importantly, Dad (Mom too) insisted that I go straight to college of some sort after high school. He discouraged any interest I might’ve shown in the military for the same reason he refused to get me a decent-paying job at the lumber mill where he worked. He’d just seen too many young men get sidetracked. Maybe work a year or two after high school, put some money in the bank with the intent to go to college. And then they buy a shiny new truck, and maybe some other toys. Then, blink, 30 years later and you’re still working there, with kids to feed and/or a house to pay off.
So I went straight to college, and finished in a semi-respectable 5 years. Dad even agreed to lend me some $$ when, as a senior, I seriously ran out of funds. He just wanted me to finish. And finish I did.
Unfortunately, after graduation, I moved home with an inflated sense of self and a head full of liberal notions and ideas that no doubt both alienated and enraged my father. He even took me to a pro-timber industry “Save Our Sawmills” meeting to show me …I’m not sure what his motives were honestly but it took a lot of courage for him to take me (my father was not a “joiner”, nor was he an activist). At any rate, I came out of the meeting convinced how misguided these people and their intentions were. Sadly, it took me years to appreciate how important it was that my dad took me to that meeting, and also just how ridiculous and annoying my 23 year old self had to be in order for that to happen.
My father and had differing opinions about the world, but he never once judged me. And he always, always supported me and had my back when I was in a difficult way. Thank You, Dad, and sorry if I was such a little shit at times.