20 minutes. Doesn’t sound like much. You try it, writing for 20 minutes, whatever comes to mind.
Today it is my Dad. I was thinking – what was I thinking? I lose it so quickly these days. Oh, now I remember. One day when visiting my parents my Dad surprisingly said, “Getting old – SUCKS!” It was out of character for the Dad I knew. I now understand though. I’m not that old but I do understand.
My Dad to me means it's “story time”!
Alaska, my favorite place - ever - where we lived while he was in the Air Force.
When we lived in Alaska we would go do things in the summer like hike up the rather large hill behind the golf course on base. It was filled with wild flowers and if I remember correctly they were the state flower, forget me knots. I do remember they were purple and forget me knots are purple. I remember huffing and puffing as we climbed higher and higher and picking flowers all the way up. When we all got tired and decided to stop, we all sat down and looked at the view. It was an amazingly beautiful view. I hated when we left Alaska. I remember crying a lot.
I was very much in love with the place.
Dad also took us horse back riding on base. They gave me a smart little pony that knew I had never ridden before. He took me for a ride under a tree so he could eat and I got stuck and had to be helped out. I remember my mom got frustrated, she had ridden a lot as a kid, because the horses didn’t want to do anything but walk and eat. They had a little track for the horses to run around. My mom got a little switch, took her horse or pony (it seemed short) to the track and got it to run around it. I thought “look at her go! I wish I knew how to ride like that!” I did think riding would be a lot easier than it was.
Another time my Dad took me golfing with him. He instructed me how to hold the club correctly, how to swing and most importantly to keep your eye on the ball. I would try and duff it, or hit a worm burner, or miss entirely. Every mistake I made – made me laugh. The more I made the more I laughed. My Dad didn’t like that. He took his golf very seriously. He could have been a pro – he was that good. He had many many trophies from events he won. I always felt very proud when he would bring one home.
My Dad was good at any sport he wanted to try. I remember bowling with him and it seemed like the pins were so afraid of how hard he hit that they fell before the ball reached them. (Not really but it seemed like I heard some screaming from the pin area.) I know everyone was amazed at the speed of the ball and the flying of the pins.
We also did some camping while we lived in Alaska. I loved being outside or going anywhere exploring when we lived there. I caught a salmon when we went fishing once. At the time and place we were fishing the salmon were spawning. There were so many you could just throw your line in and hook one almost immediately. The people we were with said if you “hooked” a fish anywhere except in the mouth you had to throw it back or release it - as they say now. The man who said this threw his line in and hooked a humpback salmon in the back, ouch. He reeled it in and unhooked it and let it go. I threw my line in and hooked one so heavy my Dad had to help me reel it in. When we were able to get it out of the net, after he scooped it up when it got close to shore, we saw it had been caught correctly in the mouth and we got to take it home. I was hooked on fishing then. I was the only one that caught one the right way. When my mom was cleaning the fish a lot of fluorescent colored eggs came out and that made me feel really sad. I hadn't thought about the fact the fish were spawning and what that really meant. I was still proud though that I’d caught a fish and we were going to have it for dinner. Fresh, super fresh salmon, I don’t think I’ve ever had it that fresh again.
One of the drives we went on, or adventures, we saw a Russian Church on the side of a mountain. It had all the spirals and towers that you think of with Russian architecture. My Dad brought binoculars whenever we went on one of our fun drives in hope of catching a view of some of Alaska’s amazing wildlife. I used them to really check out the church. I wish we could have gotten closer it looked really interesting. This trip we were going to the valley where they were raising cabbage that was as big as - well here’s an example:
Everything was bigger in Alaska. I think everything was bigger, more beautiful, and just more awesome – closer to God - I remember hearing people say.
We lived in Texas before Alaska. Texans say everything’s bigger in Texas - but it doesn’t compare to Alaska.
My time’s up so I’ll end with this. One of the things I remember doing with my Dad when we lived in Alaska was weather prediction. He would ask me what I thought the weather would be like for the day or I would ask him. It was something we both shared an interest in. He would always know when it was going to snow. When we lived on the base – which was the last year we lived in Alaska, the first two years we lived in Nunaka Valley, there was a street light in front of our house. My Dad would tell me in the evening that it would be snowing later so we would sit in front of the window waiting. And then it would start, first a few, then a few more and then large, soft, quiet but rapidly falling snowflakes. Outside it would be dark except for the light under the street lamp. We could only really see the snow in this illuminated spot. Dad and I would sit in front of the window and watch, not speaking, just enjoying the beautiful show.