We sat in the parking lot in Virginia, 7:45 am last Sunday.
“My dad would be so proud of me,” I told the teens in the back seat. “I found the 24/7 taco place.” Street tacos with cilantro and onion on corn tortillas. Authentic. Just like the tacos he took me to eat at one of the first real taquerias in Atlanta over 30 years ago. “Yelp says it’s a Richmond institution.”
Now, I can’t say I am truly just like him. He’d have ordered the tripe or tongue tacos or other more exotic meats. I’m a carne asada and al pastor girl. He would have gone crazy on the hot-hotter-hottest salsa bar. I chose the only one that said mild.
Dad, who loved to talk about how he didn’t even eat a taco until he was 25. He spent the rest of his life making up for lost time.
Then, after cheering for my daughter and her teammates at a lacrosse tournament, those teen girls and I drove a bit north to Kings Dominion.
Even with his broken body, my dad loved a great roller coaster. He could tell you the history and all kinds of fun facts about any coaster in the country, not to mention the first time he rode it. We even belonged to American Coaster Enthusiasts growing up. So spending Father’s Day at Kings Dominion was a fitting way to honor him. He also loved carousels, band organs, all things carnival and amusement. I don’t ride every roller coaster but I hope I’m getting better at embodying his sense of adventure.
What’s funny is I didn’t start out this Father’s Day thinking “what would my dad do today?” I didn’t set out to make the day a tribute to him.
It was after I stood back and reflected that I saw that some of the ways I do life and travel naturally reflect what he taught me by example.
Cheer for your kids. Be interested in what they like and want to do. Nurture those interests.
Eat at little, out of the way places. Take the scenic route sometimes. Try the local specialty. Support small, family businesses.
Be curious. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Ask more questions. Keep learning.
Ride roller coasters and merry-go-rounds. Embrace life’s ups and downs and even the rough, bumpy spots. Delight in the unexpected. Enjoy the ride.