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My first really clear memory of spending one-on-one time with my father was years ago when we were still living in Littleton, Colo. My father had just enrolled at Metropolitan State University in Denver to get his degree and in order to do research for an assignment he decided to go on a field trip. I went along for the ride.
Together, we went to a hillside that used to be, millions and millions of years ago, the bottom of a lake. The evidence was found along the slope. Dinosaur footprints were pressed into the surface like celebrity footprints.
I remember being in awe of this; that I was standing so near to the place where an enormous, scaly giant had lumbered through.
From there, we took a bike ride along C-470 highway.
I remember how all the lush green trees had made a sun-dappled pattern on the dirt path. The field trip also brought us to the Rooney Ranch, an old ranch in Colorado. While my dad spoke with the owner, I recall that his daughter kept offering me popsicles.
This memory remains vivid to me because I had so much fun. Hanging with my dad, just the two of us, was not a common occurrence.
Sure, my father helped me with my math homework, advised me on how to play softball and attended all my middle school band concerts, but spending the majority of the day with just him was a rarity, which is why these opportunities always seemed so special.
Just this past week, another opportunity to spend time with the ole’ man arose. I announced to my parents that I was generously offered tickets to the latest Los Alamos Concert Association’s show, featuring Tafelmusik, and invited them to come with me. My father took me up on my offer.
This was a little bit of a pleasant surprise; my father never struck me as a classical music enthusiast.
He sings along with Fleetwood Mac and Roy Orbison during car trips, but I’ve never seen him tap his feet to Beethoven’s or Mozart’s music.
It was also a surprise because usually when I invite my parents to go with me to an event, be it a ballet performance or theatre show, they, in good humor, scrunch up their faces and say no.
So it felt pretty good when my father volunteered to hear music he doesn’t usually listen to and attend a show he doesn’t normally watch to spend time with me.
During the concert, the leader of the baroque orchestra commented that in classical music, the musicians will seize the chance to celebrate any occasion.
And I realized that my father also seems to prescribe to this philosophy; he had just seized the chance to celebrate this particular occasion with me.