... and I am pretty sure my dad is one of the best people on the planet. I sat down this morning to write an entry about something like how time is passing so quickly, how my friends and I have less than a month left together. But then I had a conversation with my dad and came to the (re)realization that he is great and decided to write about him instead.
My dad taught me to run. When I was twelve, my dad headed out of the house for his evening jog and on a whim I decided to join him. We ran maybe three miles. My feet slapped the pavement. My thighs itched the way muscles you don't realize existed itch when you use them for the first time. There was a lot of sweat involved. I was not a pretty runner. Letting me tag along on this run taught me that I love running. I am still not a "pretty runner" but really, save for Kara Goucher, who is? At least my legs don't itch and my feet don't slap the pavement anymore...
Every year since I can remember, my dad has taken me out for lunch and shopping for my birthday. I never once went to school on that blessed day. I can remember every place we had lunch and every outfit I got. There was the year of the "smiling" experience at good dog/bad dog, my first peppermint mocha (consumed in about two minutes while walking around downtown on a misty morning in Portland), and the year that, instead of an outfit, I got an espresso machine. On this day it is solely about me and my dad. Oh and the mac and cheese from Elephants. It is a little about that too.
An equally important yearly event is the classic Winter Quarter Crisis of Faith. This has occurred via a phone call with my dad every January since I began my college career. Here is what happens:
me: Pop I am quitting college and going to culinary school. I have already looked into it.
pop: You need to rela---
me: I am relaxed, I don't know why you think I am so uptight!
pop: Ok, let's just let this idea marinate for a while. You have spent ____ years working hard for this degree and I know you don't see the value in it right now but it will pay off.
me: I want to bake, not write. When am I ever going to use an English degree?
When am I ever going to use an English degree? Ok, so maybe we haven't fully resolved this issue yet. My point is that through these conversations my father has stalled me long enough to ensure that I graduate. What I choose to do with my degree is up to me. It's a beautiful thing.
My dad doesn't get mad when I wash my iPods. Yes, iPods as in multiple, plural, a lot... five to be exact. In my defense, I use them while running and if running clothes didn't come with secret iPod-sized pockets I would never wait until I hear a clanging in the washer to discover my water-logged music player tangled in my shorts.
When I come home to visit, my dad does two things that make him great in my book: (1) he has one (or two) bottles of Andre chilling in the refrigerator and (2) he makes my favorite spinach and caramelized pecan salad. This entails making a surplus of buttery, brown sugary (yeah, it's a word) pecans and leaving them on the counter for me to casually discover and rediscover until they are gone.
My dad has the most willpower of anyone I know. And the biggest calves. Both are equally helpful for climbing mountains, which he does frequently.
This description does not do my father justice, but it is a good start.