It was the best summer ever.
My father worked for the Boeing company. It was hard, thankless work, but it paid okay and had pretty good vacation time.
My Dad was a Good Dad. Out of all the cool things Dad ever did was the annual summer one-on-one outing with each one of my brothers and sister and me. Once a summer, Dad would take a different one of us on a one-on-one outing--just him and one of us. When my Dad first started doing this with my older sister and older brother I could only think, “Next time will be my turn!”
Dad left it up to us to decide what we wanted to do. We could go hiking in the mountains, or go to the ocean, or trout fishing at one of the many rivers or lakes in Washington State.
When I was about 10-years-old my turn in the rotation came up. I chose to go charter fishing for salmon at lwaco, WA, near the mouth of the Columbia, River. Dad and I loaded up the 1967 GMC pickup truck and drove the three hours or so, made dinner on the Coleman stove, and went to bed early in the back of the truck.
I didn’t sleep at all. Dad had said we would be getting up at 4:00 a.m. to have breakfast and to get to the charter boat on time. I laid there all night listening to my Dad snoring. I was so excited--and afraid we might miss the alarm. The night seemed to last forever. When the alarm went off Dad asked if I was ready to get up, I blurted out, I “I was ready the minute we went to bed!”
I can’t remember how many fish we caught or if we caught any at all. What I remember were those 24 hours alone with my Dad. It was the best summer ever.
I stole this page from my Dad’s “Good Dads Training Manual.” Once a summer I take a different one of my boys one-on-one in one direction or another. It is getting harder to do as they get older; but we still try to do it. My boys and I have been to hockey camp and camping, fishing on the Niangua, and sailing at night. It doesn’t matter where we go so long as we go together.
Here is my Don Sippy Good Dads Challenge to each of you: Spend some time one-on-one with your boy or girl this summer. Give them a 200 hundred mile radius and a dozen different things to choose from--from hiking, to camping, to fishing, to floating, to going to the zoo or museum, or some other cool thing they would like to do.
One-on-one with Dad. It will be the best summer ever.