Summer of 1973. By this point my parents had been separated for about five years.. There were the usual battles most of which involved his promising to come get us for an outing and not showing.
Mom covered for him as much as she could. And while losing confidence she never failed to ready us for a "dad" day.
Summer of 1973 I was graduating from elementary school. A big deal under regular circumstances made bigger being as I'd skipped a grade and was at least a full year younger than most of the other graduates.
Tickets were limited and given the track record of the previous five years, mom decided dad wouldn't be invited to the ceremony. Following some heated, some hushed conversations, dad announced that there would be a day of celebration, just the two of us.
All decked out in my green and white maxi dress, white pumps with matching handbag, and pearl necklace with matching earrings, I sat on the sofa, nervous that once again, he wouldn't show. Steeling myself for the disappointment.
But, he did show. We had lunch in a fancy restaurant where he ordered me a drink topped with fruit, stabbed with one of those paper umbrellas. After lunch we went to a play and while I've long forgotten what we saw, I remember having kept the playbill for a long time. After the play we went for ice cream sundaes.
I am not prone to hyperbole, but that day . . . best ever.
That day wound up being one of very few that we would share. That day is the one I held close when we were so far apart. The memory of that day helped lead us to an eventual reconciliation and what prompted the letter I wrote to say, good-bye.
Summer of 1973, the standard bearer for all subsequent summers.
So, I drove a car a few weeks ago. I know for most this feat is no big whoop. But I haven't owned a car in many years and haven't been behind the wheel in at least three.
My daughter considered taking a Saturday shift at a location with sketchy public transportation. She asked if I would pick her up if she reserved a Zip.
The idea made me nervous. But I said, "sure" with much more confidence than I felt. She booked the gig and reserved the car. I had a week to think about it, tried not to dwell, tried not to be filled with dread.
The day, the hour arrived. I accessed the vehicle, churned the engine, and navigated by way to the venue.
All-in-all, not a horrible experience but I'm good letting others do the driving, for the most part.