Dear Dad (aka Daddy, Bill, Dady),
Remember that time we went camping in the woods and I sang every single Spice Girl song on our way to our camp site? Not only did I belt it out like I was actually in the band, but you requested it! Yeah. That was awesome.
Also, remember when we got all packed up in your Moto Guzzi and went camping in Shenandoah National Forest and it was pouring raining? I was packed into that side car with every bit of clothing we could find to put on me, plus a rain coat, plus the helmet. We spent one night in that mess and then drove down the mountain and discovered The Mimslynn hotel. We dried out all our clothes on radiators and were in complete awe of how beautiful the hotel was! It was probably the most magical camping trip I ever went on, hands down.
And then there were all the times when we took the bikes into Old Town Alexandria and we'd ride along the Mount Vernon Parkway into town. We visited the bookshop/record store on the corner that had the cafe on the second floor. I used to get so bored when you'd look at records, but brightened up once I realized we were going upstairs. That place smelled amazing, didn't it? Like coffee, baked goods, and leather binding. Those bike rides were some of my happiest memories with you.
I remember things like:
Typing on your typewriter in the basement, pretending like I was the best secretary in the world.
Having to wait at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning for what seemed like hours while you set up the living room. And by set up I mean prepping the video camera, turning on the stage-worthy lights, putting on the perfect music, making sure you'd brushed your teeth and combed your hair, and made sure every present was perfectly presented for the grand reveal when my brother and I would [finally] come downstairs.
Having a literal come-to-Jesus talk with you and hammering out my stance on religion and where it fit (and didn't fit) into my life. Words like, "Who is right? Who is wrong? NO ONE" come to mind.
Sitting in the passenger seat of your powder blue Mercedes with my head tilted back to prevent blood from dripping from my chin onto the seat of your car. That spill I took during tap class rehearsal was a nasty one, wasn't it? Every time I catch the scar on my chin in the mirror I think about how glad I am that you were there to rush me to Kaiser Permanente.
And the Antiques Roadshow experience downtown. We waited in that line for what felt like forever and then *finally* we had someone recognize the statue we had toted along with us. Getting whisked backstage (having my curls brushed out of my face), I remember sitting at the table with that large gentleman and telling the story of the slave girl statue with you looking on proudly. I still have that news article and still talk about the craziness of the experience.
The list of other memories:
Yo Bear! in Glacier National Forest.
Every move to a new home I've made.
The trip to Orlando where we pretended mom was "no longer with us" in order to score free tickets to Universal (genius move).
Hard talks about money and my ambitions (they're good for me, and I'm getting better about it every time).
Trips to Midland downtown after breakfast.
Watching and listening to you talk to clients at our house in Virginia about their upcoming wedding you'd be photographing.
The smell of your pipe that you smoked maybe once a year.
Watching you with Opa laugh and joke while sipping iced tea or beer on the deck in Richmond.
Listening to your voice at the National FFA Convention and knowing that's my dad!
Visiting you at the Mount Vernon FFA offices and getting candy from Ronni, peeking into the dark room, and avoiding the basement like the plague. I swear it was haunted to this day.
All these memories, Dad. How about that? And there are so many more I could lay out, and even more that have yet to occur. I cherish them all and couldn't be more proud to call you my father, confidant, and friend. You mean the absolute world to me and I can't wait to add more to this list.
Kasey (aka K-bug, K-buggy, K-bird)