Thursday, January 07, 2010

Joy ride

I've written before about the bond that Bud and my dad have - a bond that strengthens every day, both despite and because of the challenges that each of them faces. There's a moment that captures their relationship for me and I replay it in my mind all the time.

It was late summer and my dad had recently arrived at - or perhaps been led to - the difficult decision that it was time for him to stop driving. The truth is that it was long past time, but, anyway, the end had finally come. We had not yet gotten rid of his car, though, so it sat untouched in the driveway for several weeks.

One afternoon during that time, I was in the backyard mowing the lawn and Bud and my dad were in the front yard, where my dad was puttering in his garden with Bud's eager assistance. A short time later, I looked up from my mowing to see my dad's car slowly creeping down the street past the house - and I mean truly creeping - he couldn't have been going more than five miles an hour.

I couldn't believe it: He's sneaking out!

Then I wondered if he'd left Bud alone in the front yard. As I started to turn off the mower to investigate more closely, my dad's car stopped about 100 yards past the house, swung into a u-turn, then started creeping back up the street and past the house in the other direction.

What is he doing?, I wondered, unable to generate any theory at all.

Sure enough, though, once the car was about 100 yards past the house in the other direction, it swung in a slow U and started making it's way back. I walked out to the front of the house just as the car crept past the driveway, and there they were - Butch and Sundance - my dad doing his illicit driving and my son sitting illicitly in the always-verboten front seat next to him.

As they passed the driveway again, Bud glanced out the window and saw me. His face registered an instant "oh, crap - we're busted," and then he broke into a grin and waved to me.

I waved back, then returned to my mowing and let them have their outlaw moment - especially since their particular brand of outlaw had such an extraordinarily sweet bent to it.

I think that's the last time my dad ever drove his car.

I just hope the memory of that last ride is as precious to him as it will forever be to me.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful. And amazing. Keep that story, always.

kristina said...

Sorry if I sound sappy but this one makes me heart burst. Especially as Charlie's been talking so much about my own dad.

TC said...

Grinsob. Sobgrin.

jess said...


and it will no doubt be just as memorable and meaningful to bud.

Anonymous said...

That is a wonderful memory for them to have shared together.

Christine said...

My father had dementia; he died when my son with ASD was 5. We lived far enough away that they only saw each other a couple of times a year. Treasure these memories -- I wish I had more of them!

Niksmom said...

*sniff* Man, that's like something straight out of a movie! Gorgeous. Special. Makes me really like your dad, too. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm really digging this "I write every day" business. :-) Keep at it. xoxo

Eileen said...

Boys and their grandpas! Love it! I can so picture my dad doing this. In fact I think he has. I don't think we will ever be able to stop my dad from driving though. Very scary thought that I don't look forward to one day.

But anyway, love the memory of Bud and your dad!

Jordan said...

How beautiful. Sounds like they have a very special bond. How precious that is.

pixiemama said...

I'm loving your resolve to post every day, too! I hope it lasts well past January! I just love your writing!

I sooo thought it was going to be Bud driving the car. I still can't stop smiling.


JoyMama said...

I'm with pixie -- lovin' your daily posts, and thought it would be Bud in the driver's seat!

What a lovely story.

mommy~dearest said...

So sweet. I too, thought it was going to be Bud driving. :)

Christa said...

Great story.

My parents are arriving today to spend January with us, as the usually do. I treasure the very special time Ben gets spend with them and the sweet relationship they have with him: totally accepting of him and engaged with him.

Love the daily posts! Keep it up!