After asking sons to write about fathers and fathers to write about their children, it is only appropriate that in the continuation of the series, Things My Father Taught Me, I ask daughters to write about their fathers. To date, I have only had one female contributor to All Plaidout, Cary Randolph Fuller. I once told her, she is able to capture exactly what I am thinking in a way I would never be able to describe it. She does just that here in her tribute to her dad. Thank you, Cary, for being one of the early champions of All Plaidout, and thank you especially for your contribution here.
When I was nine years old, my dad and I embarked on a road trip east to visit family. I sat shotgun in his Ford Ranger pickup, the same truck he drives today. We listened to blues and Beach Boys cassettes, and at dinner each night, he sipped Scotch and I apple juice. When I think of him then, he was endlessly tall. Every word he told me was the absolute truth.
At fifteen we hopped aboard his Harley-Davidson and rode across Kansas all the way to Crested Butte, Colorado. His oldest niece was getting married in a wedding there. Along the way we didn’t talk much over the din of the exhaust pipes, but we did stop at odd landmarks—the world’s deepest well, oldest galena mine. I don’t remember them exactly, but I do remember marveling at how interested my father was in everything he saw around him. In the evenings he would say, “Let’s stop here for the night,” but I always made him drive on for at least another hour. By then he had taught me, perhaps too well, to love and crave perpetual forward motion.
This past February I made the heart-breaking decision to pull up stakes in New England after a months-long job search. It was time to cash in and move home. Dad called and said, “I’ll leave tomorrow to pick you up.” Back in the truck he drove that old northeastern route. On Sunday he arrived, and on Monday we packed our cars and caravanned west. This time, we didn’t stop to sightsee, and at dinner one night in Pennsylvania, I said, “You didn’t have to do this.” Dad put a hand on the top of my head – these days I clear him by two inches, but he still makes those gestures of a father accustomed to being tall. He said, “You could have done this by yourself, and you would have been fine. But I wanted to help you come home.”
From here to there and everywhere, thank you for all the miles, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.