Monday, July 18, 2011

The Vacation - Part One

My side of the family tries to vacation together once a year, and last week was the first time we took a trip as a group since Dad went on ahead.  

Part of the family met at my house the day before we were scheduled to meet in Florida as a big group, and we decided to pack the car that night so that we could hit the road bright and early the next day.  
My husband and my mom were in the 
driveway, trying to figure out how to best mount the car-top carrier that my mom had brought from her house.  It had only been used once before, and Mom couldn’t remember the details of which side should be positioned towards the front of the vehicle and how the clasps were supposed to be secured to the luggage rack. 

After they had been out there for about 15 minutes, I went outside to check their progress.  As soon as I stepped out the door, it occurred to me that every other time we had taken a trip like this, Dad was in on the preparations.  “He should be out here, too!” I thought, as my eyes filled with tears.  

 Dad loved to be in on the action.  He loved to “assist” in repairing and renovating, constructing and configuring, fixing and fabricating, even though he was not at all known for his handyman skills.

When I was growing up, it was Mom who hung the pictures and the curtains after every remodeling project or move to a new house.  When Dad was faced with a mechanical or a building project, he almost always did one of three things:  hired it out, rigged it up, or broke it.  He regularly got teased by the rest of the family for doing things like using a Brillo pad to scrub dead bugs off the front bumper of a car (oops!) and was an honors graduate from the School of Duct Tape.  I guess I watched him in his efforts a little too often because, until I met my husband, I hung pictures up in my apartment by hammering screws into the walls. 

I knew Dad would have wanted us to take this trip.  Well, technically he would have wanted to go on it with us, but, since that didn’t work out, he would have wanted us to go and to have a good time.  I was determined to honor him by not making this trip a Cry Fest.

As I took a minute to get myself together, I saw how challenging the task of mounting the car-top carrier was, and so I looked on the side of the big box that the carrier came in to see if there were any tips.  Nothing.

Mom and I flipped the box upside down to see if there were any written directions inside that might solve our problem, and an instruction pamphlet fell out onto the driveway.  Mom picked it up and opened it to see what we should do, and right away we knew Dad was there to help with the preparations for the trip, as usual:  stuck to the inside of the installation instructions was a sticky note with hints, in his left-handed chicken-scratch style of writing, of how to most easily mount the carrier to the top of the vehicle.  A cheat-sheet he had written, to make things a little easier.  

"To open, lift red button, turn left till clicks. Turn back and press button." 

                        It worked like a charm!  Thanks, Dad! 

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