Connecting Flights

Connecting Flights May 18, 2008

As I write this, it’s 3:30 in the morning. I went to bed at midnight, and am now up in order to drive my father to the San Diego airport, from which he’ll fly to Atlanta, and then on to his home in North Carolina.

For the last three days he’s been staying at a hotel near my home. The room he’s in has afforded him a commanding view of downtown Encinitas and the pristine ocean just beyond it. It’s also afforded him a keen opportunity to be so aware of the trains that come barreling and howling just below his hotel that I’m pretty sure he thinks I got him that room just to make sure he really has recovered from his various heart attacks.

“Holy cow!” I  yelled the first time one of the trains came thundering by. “I forgot about the train!”

“What?” he said. “I can’t hear you!” He looked at his wristwatch. “That’s the 12:00 express to Los Angeles! It’s running a little late!”

My dad thinks he’s real funny. He’s wrong about that — but it’s nice he thinks it.

As some of you may know (via this piece), I was last night supposed to go with my dad to the San Diego Book Awards, to see if my book “I’m OK-You’re Not” won their “Spirituality” category. We ended up not going to the ceremony, though, because my dad just wasn’t up to it. What he was up to, however, was sitting around with me in his hotel room for twelve hours smoking cigars, sipping bourbon, and listening to the Frank Sinatra I’d brought over to play on my portable CD player.

I had a really, really nice day with him yesterday.

I don’t think I won anything at the SD Book Awards; if I had, I think one of the people I know who did go to the awards would have already emailed me a congratulations. No message probably equals no cool little SDBA trophy-thing for me.

I think right about the time they were announcing the winner of the Best Spirituality book, my dad and I were cracking up at the various things we were imagining must have been going through the head of the pretty hotel maid who earlier in the day had cleaned the room while he and I stood around and made exceptionally lame small talk at her.

“We’ve probably prompted her to rethink her life,” said my dad. “Thanks to us, she’ll probably go to college now.”

“Thanks to us, she’ll probably go to the police,” I said.

He laughed. And I laughed.

And in the background Frank Sinatra sang to us about how, when he was seventeen, it was a very good year.

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  • arlywn

    Awww……… What bonding! Poor Lady, you might have made her quit. Maybe the award people are mad at you, and arent telling you that you won- cause you didnt go.

  • John,

    It was a very good year.

    I'm sure there will be plenty more ceremonies to attend.

    Regardless, you can always stand up and take a bow here because there are plenty who will applaud.

    Happiness and contentment abound at news of your relationship renewal with your dad.

    It was a very good visit, sounds like.


  • I am so happy for you. It is such a blessing to be able to share time with our parents and actually be able to appreciate that time!

    And yes we applaud you!

  • Ahhh….you guys are so sweet. Thank you so much for these very warm thoughts, and for all your encouragement generally.

    Yeah. Parent Stuff. A world in it, for sure, every time.

    But. Whaddaya' gonna do?

  • Wow! You and your dad enjoying a 'serendipity' time together . . . (dictionary: 'the faculty of happening upon fortunate discoveries when not in search of them".

    The book awards? Not to worry! There's another day coming!

  • There are hotels in California that still ALLOW people to smoke cigars???

  • The winner of the San Diego Book Award for Spirituality was Matthew J. Pallamary, "Spirit Matters."

    I think I prefer the spirit matters you and your dad were consuming in the hotel room.

  • Time with your dad or an award….

    Thanks for a beautiful example of what matters most. 🙂

  • Definitely time well spent.

  • "Spirit Matters," huh? It's a good title. I wonder if the book is any good? I think it's real New-Agey. I know! I'll e-interview the guy, and then run the interview as a blog posting. That'll be cool. So I should do that.

    Chuck: We didn't smoke in the room; doing so would of course have gotten us killed by California's state Mellow Enforcers. We smoked OUTSIDE the room, on its balcony.

    Grace: thank you. That's so sweet of you.

    Skerrib: Thanks, too. It was valuable to me. My dad's in pretty awful health; he won't live long. (Then again, I've been waiting for him to die since the massive heart attack he had when he was 39.)

  • Srepard

    I think you deserve an award for honoring your father. No matter what his health is, no matter what his age is–he is not going to live forever, and since he lives in another state, your sharing that time with him was very important to him. There is never going to be a day, after your father is gone, that you’re going to say, “I sure wish I had gone to the awards show.” Even if you had won, once daddy’s gone, you will feel, even more, how precious that time was. That’s the stuff that fond, loving memories are made of.

  • Wonderful, Srepard. Thank you.