What does relaxation mean to you? For me as a teenager it meant curling up with a good book and reading. For my father relaxation meant being outdoors and puttering around the garden and lawn. You can imagine what kind of arguments that produced. I do not to this day have or manage a garden. I do however maintain my fathers tradition of making everyone go on family walks.
Dad’s idea of a fun vacation was going to a place that had no technology. No TV or later no Internet just nature. We went to the UP of Michigan (Porcupine Mountain State Park) The Turtle Flambeau flowage of Wisconsin. Estes park in Colorado and many other places over the years. The rest of us didn’t love the outdoors as much but I am not sure there was ever an option to not do it dad’s way.
On the other side my dad loved books. He gave me so many books over the years, things that I should read to improve not only my viewpoints but also give me a chance to consider both sides of arguments. They, the books he gave me were either spy novels (he loved Robert Ludlum) or they were technical education books focused on delivering new ways of solving or considering problems. If he wasn’t outdoors he had his nose in a book consuming it, thinking about it.
Dad would based on information change his position over time. That flexibility took time frequently but he did in the end come around to a number of new ways of doing things. A huge change for him came one day when he asked me if I had the Harry Chapin song “Flowers are red.” I didn’t have that album but I do now. The song is a touching story of what can be wrong with an educational system so bound around rules that it can’t get out of its own way. I played that song for dad a few times over the years.
The week my baby sister was born is memorable for me. Grandpa Ray came down with Grandma. Grandpa had to go back to work so Grandma stayed with us for the week mom was in the hospital. Note that even then I STILL WANTED A PUPPY rather than a little brother or sister. I guess mom knew that in her heart of hearts so she arranged for Grandma to give us a special present (picked by mom) each day. It was a way for her to connect with us while she was in the hospital. It wasn’t as good as a puppy but it certainly helped.
.your loving son…