Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy (belated) Birthday Dad!!!

Greetings from Dallas, Texas! AND a belated birthday to my Dad - I would have gotten the birthday wishes out earlier, but our phone/cable/internet was disconnected EARLY Saturday morning. With no internet, a nearly empty apartment (except the leaky air mattress which we DID leave behind), and packed cars, one will do many things for entertainment.

My favorite?

Finishing the open bottle of wine and eating ice cream sandwiches (Skinny Cow!) while reading Harry Potter.

But that's beside the point.

So in tribute to Dad's birthday AND the mega-long car trip that Nathaniel and I are taking from Pensacola to San Diego, I present:

My Top 10 Favorite Driving Moments with Dad!

10. Once a semester in elementary school, Dad would take me out for a special Father-Daughter lunch. I remember sitting in our Silver 4WD Subaru, country music blaring from the speakers, and on our way to Red Lobster - my restaurant of choice.

9. Central High School Ski trip during my sophomore year. First we had a slight mishap with the 20 or so pairs of skis strapped to the top of our car. The strap came off and we nearly lost all the skis. Thankfully Dad's road handling skills saved the day. Later during the trip, when half the team was stranded in a fierce winter storm, at a small cabin on Hwy 00 in the middle of backwoods Wisconsin, Dad's 4WD Subaru Legacy managed to break a trail through 24 inches of snow and rescue countless number of skiers.

8. In January on year (perhaps 1991?), Dad and I drove up to The National Forest Lodge in Ely, Minnesota for a ski trip. It was very COLD, but we packed trail mix and enjoyed the sights and sounds of back country Minnesota. No storms, thankfully. But we did sight deer and wolves.

7. Dad was always willing to drive me to school in the morning, even if I was running late. And in high school, I was nearly ALWAYS running late. Except if I had orchestra rehearsal. Then I was surprisingly early.

6. During Spring Break of 1990(?), the entire family drove from St. Paul to San Antonio. Yes, the trip was long, plagued with throw up (me!), but we made it. Dad gave a conference, and the rest of us enjoyed first class accommodations and the gorgeous river walk. On the way back, we spent Easter in Missouri. And went Easter egg hunting outside, something we never would have done in frigid Minnesota. Obviously we survived the trip - and Karyna and I earned pet stuffed rabbits in the process. I named mine "Teddie Tassie Texas." I still have that rabbit (is it okay to admit that?)

5. Driving along the North Shore of Lake Superior every August, and blaring CCR (Credence Clearwater Revival) on the tape deck. To this day, whenever I hear CCR, I am reminded of those great vacations on The Lake. And it makes me happy.

4. He was always willing to go out of his way for me - one summer while running in the Minnesota Sate Hershey Track and Field Meet in Frazee, Dad took a detour and we drove 100 feet into South Dakota. Just because I "wanted to set foot there." For the record, it didn't feel any different than Minnesota. But to a 12 year old, it made all the difference in the world.

3. "Suzy", the VW Wagon that our family drove while living in Czechoslovakia and Europe during the 80s. Through doors falling off, spider bites in uncomfortable places (that was Mom), lots and lots of vomit (that was Karyna), and a rock smashing through our windshield while on the high way (that was with me), we managed to survive. And Suzy will always have a special place in our hearts.

2. Many trips to and from Madison while I was in college a Wisconsin. He willingly put up with the mournful meows of The Fat Grey Cat - who at the time was Itty and Bitty - but still very loud. After each trip, we would always eat at "The Dardanelles", a fantastic Greek and Turkish restaurant. It was there that I developed a love for Turkish Coffee. With sugar!

And the Number One Driving moment with Dad?

1. Teaching me how to drive stick shift in a church parking lot when I was 14 and 15. I believe that he wanted a Higher Power to watch out for us. It was a Lutheran Church....and I managed to NOT crash into a pole. That's enough of a confirmation for me!

Happy (belated) birthday Dad! I am so sorry that I missed your real date - but both Nathaniel and I want you to know that we were thinking about you. And that we're REALLY looking forward to celebrating in a few weeks together out in San Diego!

So here's to many more road trips! I treasure the ones we've already had!!


Maijaleena said...

Great list! Happy b-day to your Dad! I've had many great roadtrip moments with my Dad too, so it brought back some memories for me. Happy travels!

TriGirl Kate O said...

What is it about family car trips and vomit? I think it must be a right of passage--both for kids and parents! Happy Bday Marit's Dad.

Pedergraham said...

What a great post, Marit. This makes me look forward to some "growing-up moments" with my own daughter--ones that include skis and orchestra and fun music on the radio. Your dad sounds like a fun guy. I am glad that you admitted to the rabbit!!! Red Lobster? Good move leaving the mattress behind! Safe driving today.

Jennifer Harrison said...

Oh, what a great post is right, Marit! Fun memories! Happy birthday to your dad! Drive safely! :) Jen H.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the listing of great memories.

All the best on the GRAND TREK


Kim said...

This is so cute! What a great recap! It sounds like you are doing well and enjoying the trip! Happy Belated B-day to your Dad too and be safe Marit!!

GoBigGreen said...

Hey Marit!
Great MN moments on the road trip.
I learned to drive a stick at the Fairgrounds ( not during the fair, of course)Super fun to read your oh so good memories of MN.
Hope you are settling in.