I was too tired to come up with a cleverer title, but I’m accepted suggestions. Here’s a story that expresses my relationship with my father pretty well.
One day, my dad and I decided to go camping. We were living in Nebraska at the time, having just moved there from Colorado. Now, when one goes camping in the Rocky Mountains, it is a serious deal. I have woken up to my tent buried in snow in the middle of June at high elevations. So those were my expectations of hiking at the time.
My father and I arrived very early at the campsite, and had it all set up within minutes. Then we went searching for firewood. It had just rained the night before, so everything on the ground was wet, but almost at exactly the same moment, he and I had a lightbulb go on and we both looked up. There was a fallen branch suspended above the ground, and it had dried reasonably well.
We managed to get the branch down and dragged it back to the campsite, where we proceeded to realize that we had forgotten a hatchet. After a bit of chin scratching and hemming and hawing, we decided that the best idea* would be to use a rock as a fulcrum and have me stand on one end of the branch and him jump of the other.
Having survived our genius* idea, we set everything up for the fire and our campsite was all ready to go…hours before dark. This was an unusual experience for us: setting up camp in the Rockies had been a much more involved ordeal.
So, we sat. A normal father-child pair would talk and tell stories to pass the time, but my father is taciturn and I get tired of making one sided conversation (and I think my father rather prefers quiet anyway), so we sat in silence…for three hours.
I whiled away the hours watching the nature around me, and this was my first encounter with a cedar waxwing. I had read about them in a book, but I was delighted to see them in the wild. I recognized them instantly, though I had only briefly read a description of them months before. Their wings really did look like they had been dipped in wax!
I remember this being a very pleasant camping trip. The night was warm (again, unprecedented in my Colorado camping experiences), and there were beautiful stars (though not as beautiful as the Rockies!). We made a nice fire, watched it die down, and went to bed. Easy!
*This was actually a terrible idea, don’t do this.