Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bright Spots on the Landscape


People always associate Southern California with beaches, and although the shores here are great, I'm much more partial to the local hiking trails. I try to hit the ones near my or Mr. W's house every weekend if I can. A few weeks back, my sister took me and my niece on one we'd never tried and we were delighted to find an explosion of wildflowers. According to my dad, when they were fighting the Station Fire out here last fall, they not only doused the fire with water but also seeds. When I went back this weekend, it wasn't as spectacular, but still had a lot of blooms to boast.


Speaking of my dad, we very much enjoyed Father's Day with him today. One of the things I love most about my dad is that he'll make friends with anyone. As a kid, I remember him waltzing into our vacation campgrounds with random folks he'd met down the way who were then invited to dinner. He can strike up conversation with anyone passes by his house while he's watering the lawn. He jokes around with waiters and store clerks and anyone he can get a laugh out of. So, as usual, I found it so endearing today as he chummed up with Mr. W, giving him a very detailed tour of my parents' motorhome and showing off his flourishing tomato plants.



I was also very touched when he told Mr. W and me a story about how a hummingbird had flown straight into the sliding glass door a couple weeks ago. My dad is a huge animal lover, so he rushed to the little bird's aid. He said he picked him up and held him on his back and watched the little bird's eyes tracking his every move. He petted him on the head and rubbed his belly a bit and the next thing he knew, the bird rolled to his feet and flew away. I may have told this story here before, but when I was getting ready for the senior prom, my dad rescued a baby dove who'd fallen out of the nest in our front yard. There I was in my prom dress, helping my dad wash this bird in the kitchen sink. It warms my heart the way he cares about creatures big and small.


Sidenote—the picture above is a crevice that was carved out from the post-fire flooding that happened in the mountains above my house. Pretty crazy to hike through it and see all the tree roots sticking nakedly out of the ground.


Okay one last story about my dad. So, every time my parents go on vacation, they bring all of us kids (and the grandkids, too) a souvenir. They mean well—they're showing their love by purchasing trinkets. But I already know they love me. So I tell them—every time—not to bring me anything. I already have enough stuff to fill my apartment and make frequent trips to the Goodwill. This annoys them to no end. They want to do things their way. They want to buy souvenirs. So they decided on their recent trip to Alaska that, as punishment, they would buy me the junkiest memento they could find. A super cheesy Alaskan shot glass. They were so proud of themselves.

But I got the last laugh (and made my dad laugh really hard, too) when I wrapped up that shot glass and gave it back to my dad for Father's Day.

9 comments:

laura said...

Awww..love the pictures and stories about your dad. You got a shot glass? We got an Alaska chopping block and a VHS (yes...I said VHS, not DVD) tape of their train ride!

Sizzle said...

Your dad sounds like a really wonderful man.

Mel Heth said...

Laura - That is fricking hysterical they bought you a VHS. My family has decided to wage war against me and that all of them are going to buy cheesy shot glasses when they go on vacation so that I have a huge collection. My dad even threatened to make a rack...

Sizzle - He is. And it's funny because Mr. W reminds me of him in many ways.

geekhiker said...

Seeing your reply to Sizzle: so, I guess there's some truth to the idea that women go for guys who are like their fathers?

A number of those flowers are "fire-followers" too - flowers that move into a burned area the first spring after a fire...

blakspring said...

some of the best vacation souvenirs are the edible kind. maybe you can get your parents to bring some delicacies back from the places they visit.

Anonymous said...

So, did you know every time I crash and fall down, your dad pats my head, rubs my belly and checks my eyes before I get up. Just like the hummingbird.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

This is a really nice tribute to your dad. And to flowers and hiking trails. Bravo!

Danielle said...

That god for all of the great dads out there. Sounds like you got yourself one of the greatest!

Janice MacLeod said...

Sweet stories about your dad.