Sunday, December 24, 2006

Dad gets it right

In my family, my dad is often the butt of the jokes when it comes to Christmas presents. In his mind it isn't about how much money is spent or buying the perfect thing, but he has, on occasion, attempted to participate in what Christmas has become for my family.

Unfortunately, this is often times met with less than stellar results. He is still ribbed for buying me racing stripes for my car, or the very nice set of motorcycle riding gear that I remember wearing no more than twice. The thing about my dad is that materialistic gift giving isn't exactly his specialty. That doesn't necessarily mean that he doesn't give good gifts, just that his best ones aren't purchased at a store.

8 years ago today I was on the road driving from Arkansas to Arizona. Specifically, at about this time I was around the New Mexico border on my way towards Flagstaff and I was getting tired. It was the first holiday season I had ever had a girlfriend for, and it happened to coincide with a family reunion in Arkansas. Due to the way the calendar worked out, we planned on driving back on Christmas eve and Christmas day. The trip from Arkansas is about 24 hours total of driving, and we have always done it in two days.

This was the first year that I was able to share in the driving duties, and that combined with the fact that I had been away from Stacey for so long was motivation enough for me. By Albuquerque I had started an argument with my mother(Who wanted to stop for the night) that I had won by the time I hit Gallup. I'm not sure if I won the argument by actually winning, or by just not stopping, but either way I was determined.

Miranda, who was 14 at the time, also had motivation. Getting home quicker meant getting her loot quicker. She volunteered to sit in the front seat and keep me awake for the drive.

20 minutes later Miranda was sound asleep.

I had driven most of the trip, and after around 22 hours straight of driving I ran out of gas. At this time we were approaching Flagstaff. The road from Flagstaff down to Phoenix is about 2 hours long, but its also a somewhat dangerous set of switchbacks as you come down a mountain. As much as I had wanted to get home I just didn't have it in me and finally relented and agreed to stop off for the night.

It was at this time my dad, who had been resting in the back, told me to pull off and that he'd drive the car down the mountain. It seems like a small gesture, but it was one of the best presents I've ever gotten.

We got home, and I was soon back on the road, in my car, with a renewed energy flowing through me. Stacey's parents lived about a mile from mine, so the trip was short. It was about 4 am at the time. I pulled up to her house and with a quick leap was over her wall and knocking at her window.

She met me out in front of the house where we stayed for about an hour in the cold. At least I'd assume it was cold. I doubt I even noticed. After catching up, and other things that I'll leave to the imagination of the reader I eventually went home and enjoyed a peaceful night's day's rest.

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