Thursday, July 2, 2020
Let Love Drive: A Road Trip with My Dad - Intro
For record keeping purposes, when I look back on this post someday in the future after Dad's gone, his choosing to go on this drive was exactly opposite of what we were being told to do by our federal government. By June of 2020, the world was in month four of the Corona virus pandemic and non-essential travel was not recommended–especially if you were over 60, had health & memory issues and still wrote checks to pay for stuff. Okay, I made the last one up but it was true regardless. Yet, despite all the information telling him the contrary, Dad had his own plan: to see his two sisters, maybe for the last time. Dad is 85 after all and they only a few years younger. There was no way to stop him. He was going. He had his trusty road atlas of all fifty states to help him find his way and now for the first time ever, a new debit card. It was learning of this last detail that forced me to make a snap decision: I was going with him. I asked him if he was good with the idea, and once he agreed (only because, he said, so he wouldn't have to sing to himself the whole way) I had about a week to plan out the route from Texas to Montana and then from Montana to Iowa, where he lives. My brother Jim, thankfully, drove with him from Nebraska to Texas and then flew home. I flew from Florida, direct, to Dallas, hoping the whole way I wouldn't contract the virus before I'd be sitting in an enclosed car for hours and hours with him, and then be in close quarters with his elderly siblings. It was not ideal. I was not comfortable with the situation honestly, but I was of the belief that if he didn't catch the virus from me, he was likely to catch it from someone else along the way (Dad will talk to anyone). The idea of him being sick and alone somewhere, quite frankly, scared the shit out of me. I can act noble and accept all the accolades for doing this great thing for Dad but in reality I just wanted to protect him. I wanted him to have a memorable adventure. I was proud of him for not letting his age, nor his declining health, nor a world that was sickly and suffering from civil unrest, keep him from his promise to visit his sisters. After all, this simple act of love and kindness was exactly what the world needed. And if truth be told, it's what I needed too.