Thursday, October 21, 2010

If I had a Time-Traveling DeLorean

Yesterday, here in the Seattle area, the host of the conservative talk show I often listen to decided to talk about the movie Back to the Future and how the stars of that movie, Michael J. Fox, et al, occasionally travel around to Back to the Future conventions (I didn’t know such a thing existed). And how at these shows, they are inevitably asked this question: “If you really had a time-traveling DeLorean, would you go into the future or into the past? If into the past, who, when or what would you want to see?” (or some words to that effect)

A guest on the show said that he would go into the future and learn what sports teams and the stock market did, insinuating that he could then come back and get rich quick. Not a bad idea, I guess, but the question did what it was supposed to do and it got me thinking of the answer I would give, which is that I think I’d go back in time, not forward.

Now, you might be thinking, “Yes, so you could by stock in Microsoft or Boeing!” Well, that’s a great idea, but that wasn’t be my first thought. Or you might say, “You’d want to meet a famous person, like Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Abe Lincoln, or such?” No, not my first thought either. Those who know me might then guess, “Well, it has to be Ronald Reagan that you’d like to meet; you named your daughter after him after all, so that’s it, right?” Again, no (although Jesus and Reagan are at the top of the list, behind the one person who I’d like to visit first).

So, if I had a time-traveling DeLorean, I’d go back in time and visit my dad. He died suddenly in an auto accident on February 13, 2001, at the young age of 60; and, by gosh, I miss him.

He and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye as I was growing up, we had our moments when I didn’t understand what he was trying to get across to me. But, as an adult, I’ve said many times that I sure wish that I had listened to him more closely and followed his advice; maybe I’d have had a little easier go at this adulthood thing.

Here’s a good example: as a junior in high school, I was offered a wrestling scholarship to a local college, but as a senior, the college had to drop its wrestling program due to a lack of funding. When that happened, dad offered to pay my way through college, but, being the numbskull that I was, I told him, “Nope, I’ll do it on my own.” Well, it turned out that I was in my 40’s before I finally got my bachelor’s degree, working the whole time as I was taking a class here and a class there.

After high school, I didn’t see him a whole lot, I joined the military and traveled the world for the next 20 years. Then when I retired from the Air Force, I found a job about a thousand miles away, so as an adult, I saw him maybe once a year or so. I hate that he didn’t get to see me graduate from college and grad school, I hate that he didn’t get to see what successful adults his grandchildren have become and I hate that he didn’t get to see my fourth child or his soon-to-be-born first great-grandchild.

I tell my 7-year-old daughter, Reagan, about him all the time and she’s excited to see him someday in heaven – and so am I.

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