When I was a kid, I used to love hanging out with my Dad. An inordinate amount of memories involve being in a car. Obviously, we were going somewhere, to do something. While I don't remember the destinations much, getting there was a blast.
For a long time, if Dad was running an errand, then I wanted to go with. Sometimes it was a simple trip to the store to pick up a few things, and he didn't say much. Sometimes, he would transform errand into adventure, just with his spirit.
To start, Dad didn't mess around. There was an unspoken understanding that whatever the task, it would be accomplished as quickly and efficiently as possible. Like we were in a game and a clock was ticking that only we could hear. His cars were always made in Detroit and equipped with a large engine. You know, the kind that could pin you to the back of your seat. He was a good, safe driver, but knew how to "get there." Then, into the store, directly to what he wanted, find the quickest line, and out the door. Beautiful.
Even if we were on a side street, and couldn't go fast, Dad would occasionally hit a puddle, just to see how far he could splash the water. Then he'd see someone in the distance, and tell me he was going to splash them, just to see the look on my face. Or he'd see someone walking down the sidewalk and make up something ridiculous about them to make me laugh.
But if we were in a spot where he could jump on it, he did. He knew I loved the feeling of controlled, pure acceleration; that pull. I think he liked it, too. Later, if we were at cruising speed and there was light traffic, he'd let me stand up in the back seat. My arms resting on the backs of the front seat, I wanted to see everything he could see.
Sometimes, we'd drive around like mad, accomplishing errands at record speed, just so we had time to drive out west on 95th to Maple Lake. There was some road around there, can't remember where, but it was a series of rolling hills. Not bumps, hills. At least they seemed like real hills to a seven year old. Again, he'd let me stand up in the back -- and it felt just like a roller coaster. I loved growing up in the '70s.
Plus, he used to sing these crazy songs to me. One was "Dance With a Dolly With a Hole in Her Stocking.' (click to hear) Another took me years to make sense out of, as he only sang the first part of the song, and never the second, which explained the whole thing. He'd start with a long, drawn out "Oh" and then slur the following syllables into what sounded like:
Ooooooooooooooh mairzydoats andozydoats anlidelamzydivy, akidelidivy2, woodenchu.
It didn't make much sense, but the way he sang it was so cool, so funny. Kind of like he mixed an auctioneer with a jazz trombone. When I was in my late 20s, I was driving somewhere, some long trip alone with my thoughts. Searching for a radio station, I stumbled across the whole song.
Good one, Dad.
Happy Father's Day!