I’d like to kick off my summer guest post series (I like to call it Smells Like Coppertone) with this great story from my friend Jill of TerraSavvy. Thank you so much for sharing this special summer memory about your dad with us. xoxo
As a child, almost all of my exciting adventures happened when my two sisters and I were visiting my father during “his” weekends. Having three daughters and no sons didn’t deter him in the least when it came to experiencing the outdoors. In fact, I think it’s safe to assume he liked the challenge.
Summertime was my favorite time of year to spend with my dad. No school meant longer visits with more time for exploring. He always seemed to have the most unusual ideas of what constituted a fun activity. Amusement parks were for the other kids, not us. We did things like wander around on train tracks in search of some rare something-or-other that he heard about from who knows where. Or drive several hours to get in a photo shoot for the cover of a small town phone book. This happened in Margaretville, NY and getting there was half the fun. The other half was when we got a copy of the phone book and found ourselves, along with about 200 other people, on the cover.
One of these now famous outings was a trip up Mount Beacon, NY on a very warm day. My dad had the brilliant idea of taking the tram car up the mountain to see what the birds could see, as he would explain. What he managed to leave out, was his plan for us to walk back down the mountain instead of taking the very capable tram that brought us to the top. I can remember all three of us girls sighing and most likely protesting his suggestion. Really Dad? Walk down the side of a mountain? For fun?
And that is exactly what we did. Without having any knowledge of what was ahead in our descending path, we started down. My younger sister was thrilled and thought it was going to be the best thing e-v-e-r! She was five, what did she know of mountain climbing? My older sister was probably worried we would all get lost or hurt and then no one would know we were up there. I remember thinking in my very practical ten year old mind, we shouldn’t be doing this. Maybe it’s a bad idea but I’m going to make the best of it for my father because he seems so darn excited. I obviously wasn’t the smart one out of the bunch either, because in the end, we all agreed to walk down the steepest incline IN THE WORLD!!
Through prickly bushes, steeper than expected drop offs and a bit of rock hurdling we made it down to the bottom. I can’t say how long it took, but I am sure it wasn’t as long as it felt. We had no water and were practically dehydrated when we hit the bottom. Going against his usually healthy food choices, he bought each of us a soda to quench our thirst. This was something he never did because soda was “bad for you.” And descending a mountain on a hot summer afternoon with three little kids, without water, or anyone else knowing what we were up to isn’t bad for you? I began to question his parenting skills from that point forward.
Regardless of the sugar induced celebration we were having, this event was one for the memory book. He was right, as always, it was fun and we learned how to work as a team to safely walk down the side of that very steep mountain. That day was something I could brag about, and brag I did, to all of my friends and classmates. After all these years, I’m still bragging, to all of you.
My dad was cool like that. He made your life something to feel good about. Something to be proud of. He would encourage you to accomplish anything you set out to do and he showed us by example. We would come away from our outings with a new appreciation for life and the natural world around us. It may sound pretty serious and deep and whether he knew it or not, he taught me and my sisters how to live a full life.
Thanks, Dad, for the best summer memories a girl could ask for!