R E S
P E C T
Frankly, I think he scared my friends.
Dad never had to raise a hand to me. I think he may have once or twice when I was really young, but can't really remember any specific time. Just knowing Dad was angry was enough to put the fear of fears into me.
Dad had an office in the basement of the house, but this wasn't the place for the big talks. Dad had to make more of a production out of things. When he wanted to talk about something it usually meant a long drive in the dark after dinner.
He would drive, seemingly without direction for seemingly a hundred miles. Usually, the radio was off and it was just the agony of waiting for him to get to the point was enough. Heck, we usually knew something was coming by this point. Finally, he'd bring up the topic of the nite's discussion and I'd stare out the window, carefully hiding my face from his view. You see, these talks usually were either because something was wrong or he wanted to talk about something embarassing. Either way, no kid wants Dad to see his tears or his red face.
Eventually, the torture would be over and we'd head home and I'd disappear into my bedroom and call it a nite....until next time.
It Doesn't End There
By now, I'm sure you're wondering what this all has to do with four-wheeling, right?
Well, to Dad, the gun club was not just a place to go fire off some shells. No, it was much much more than that, and it wasn't until after he passed away a couple of years ago that I realized that.
After we'd shot our fill of targets, we'd pack up the guns and head into the club house. This is where Dad would subject me to sitting in on his hour-long discussions with guys that I didn't know about things that I either knew nothing about or had absolutely no interest in.
To The Point
Now, obviously, there's the getting away from town, the great scenery, the challenges, the death-defying adrenoline rushes, and the satisfaction of getting over that obstacle that $800 ago you couldn't get over. But, beyond that, there's something else...something deeper...something even more important.
It didn't take long for me to realize that one of the greatest things about four-wheeling is the comradery and friendships that develop on the trails. It never ceases to amaze me how you can go 500 miles from home to an event and just walk up to anyone in the lot and just start talking with them....for hours.
Seriously! You can pick anyone at an event and just start talking about their rig and next thing you know, someone else comes over and joins in. Next thing you know, it's 2 hours later and you've shared stories, tech tips, and maybe even a brew or two. Try that at home sometime. Go walk up to some guy in a parking lot and start talking to him and see what happens.
Earlier this year, in Moab, my Jeep broke on the Golden Spike trail. Without any hesitation, several new friends and even a stranger or two never hesitated or thought twice about helping me get my Jeep back into town. Eleven hours, a round trip to town and back in the dark, and a bit of snow later, we had the Jeep back to town and nobody expected anything more than a thanks and a handshake.
The other thing that always makes me laugh is how we can be 100 miles from the nearest sign of civilization and the next thing you know, we're talking about computers or business or something.
All Comes Together Now
Think about it next time you're on the trail.
Thanks, Dad. I miss you.