Well, today is Father’s Day. Yes my first Father’s Day. While it is special because it is my first, it’s only going to become more special as the years go by, and I can take the time to reflect on all the good times I’ve had with Gord (et al). Having said that, I can’t help but think of the great times I’ve had with my dad… I thought I’d share a few.The drives to school/work
I’m sure a big part of the reason my dad and I have such a healthy relationship is because of all the time we were forced to spend together. When we moved out to Skead for the last time (Grade 7), I started getting rides into school with my dad. By the time grade 9 rolled around, it was a permanent thing. Every morning we would make the 30 minute ride into Sudbury where we would end up talking about anything and everything. One conversation in particular had to do with my ‘new’ girlfriend. I asked him if he could see us staying together even into marriage, and his response was “Agh, you’re still young, probably not”… Sorry Kim, I just don’t think he knew you well enough yet.
I may not have realized it at the time, but I truly appreciated this time, and wouldn’t trade it for anything. My mom is still jealous to this day of all the ‘quality time’ that was shared.
The long weekend fishing trip
An honorable mention – when I was in grade 9 my dad and I joined my Uncle Jim (which is really my dad’s cousin) at the cottage in Brent (Algonquin Park) for the annual long weekend fishing trip… good times, good times…
The fishing trip where we almost crashed the boat near the north shore
Another honorable mention fishing trip, started out a simple Saturday morning fishing excursion. We were living in Skead, and would often head out fishing. This one time in particular we explored new waters. I was on ‘lookout’ for shoals with my dad being captain. Riding the crest of a wave, and just as my dad calls up “There is supposed to be a shoal somewhere around here” we notice we are coming down on a massive rock twice the size of the boat, just level with the water’s surface. My dad luckily noticed, threw the motor in heavy reverse causing the nose of the boat to jet out of the water with the shoal directly under the front half of the boat.
Causing the motorcycle guy to crash on our trip to wawa
Yeah, my dad and I have a whole lot of ‘close call’ stories… this one happened to be a close call for the other guy. I’ll leave out the details, but yeah, the title says it all.
The Guns 'n Roses / Randy Travis Road Trip Soundtrack
My dad used to drive for Greyhound, and I would very often ride with him - it’s probably why I get such wanderlust and need to take road trips or long drives on very regular basis. On one of my March Breaks, probably grade 3, I accompanied my dad on all his trips. One in particular was a ‘dead head’ (Meaning an empty bus). I was into Guns ‘N Roses at the time and my dad must have recently acquired a Randy Travis tape (that’s right, cassette). We would take turns listening to one side at a time. Side one GnR, Side One Randy, Side 2 GnR, Side 2 Randy. Well, to this day, I still love that Randy album. I have it on vinyl!!
Building the house boat addition together
I can’t really say I did much in the way of building… at 6 years old, you’re only really good at standing on and holding in place the sheets of wood, or 2x4’s as they are getting cut. Before moving to Skead (for the first time) we had a house boat – tons of good memories here, but the new addition is what sticks out in my mind.
The trips to the 'dump
I don’t know why it is, but when I was 3 and 4, I remember taking a lot of trips to the garbage dump with my dad. I was always fascinated by all the Seagulls.
Walking to School
When I lived in Sudbury (after the valley, and before skead – Kindergarten – Gr. 2), we lived right next to the school – St.Raphael’s. Every morning I would be walked to school by someone in my family. This one day in particular my dad thought I was old enough to walk myself – especially considering we lived literally right next to the school play ground. I was quite apprehensive, but up for the challenge. I made it down my driveway and across the gravel parking lot to the bottom of the stairs leading up to the playground… and I started panicking. I distinctly remember being slightly embarrassed that I was going to all of a sudden have to turn around and head home, so I thought to myself “Oh, I’ll pretend I forgot my reading book”, then I stopped, and thought to myself “Ugh, I forgot my reading book”, (very convincing), turned around and went back home. I remember my dad’s face as I walked in the door, and when I told him I wanted him to walk me to school. He didn’t complain, and walked me back to school.
When I was about 5 years old, I was playing with my friend down the street and was told I had to be home at 4 o’clock. I must have been a few minutes late (but on the way back home) as my dad pulled up in his truck and picked me up. He had a very concerned look on his face, and began giving me a lecture on my ‘lateness and constant bad attitude’. I was completely taken aback. I didn’t think I was late, and I was generally a pretty good kid. Instead of going home, he passed the driveway, continuing his lecture. He came to the point of his stern discussion by stating he did not know what to do with me anymore, and that he was giving me to a ‘home for troubled boys’. Completely in shock, I didn’t know what to say. He pulled up to the back of some building (where the LCBO is now on Barrydowne & Lasalle), told me to get out of the truck, walk over to the unmarked door he was pointing to, and tell them “I’ve been a bad boy”. I resisted as much as possible, but eventually got out of the truck. Tears rolling down my face, I still remember the look on his face (and the smart little smirk on my sister’s face who was also sitting in the truck, happily watching my renunciation go down), as he pointed to the door, and repeated his instructions. I was about 5 or 6 feet away from the truck when he stopped me, called me back and said, “Just kidding Steve, we’re here to pick up a Pizza for dinner”.
We loved the Pat & Mario’s Belly Buster Pizza.
The Stanley cup
When I was 11, my dad hadn’t been driving for Greyhound for several years, however he still had many friends who did. This particular day happened to be when the Hockey Hall of Fame Tour Bus had stopped through Sudbury. The main attraction was obviously the Stanley Cup. It was locked in a glass case at the back of the bus seen by visitors who would walk down the widened aisle passing other memorabilia. Well, it was January 2nd, (my dad’s birthday), and the tour bus was on a day off. It was parked in the Greyhound garage on Barrydowne and my dad got a call stating that the drivers were having a ‘private viewing’. He brought me down, and we were pleased to see that one of the drivers happened to have a key for the glass case. We, unbeknownst to the Hockey Hall Of Fame, had our picture taken hoisting the cup.
My dad never let me win at anything. Maybe perhaps when I was very little, but for as long as I remember, I had to earn my wins. He taught me chess at a fairly young age, and as of 19 years old, I had yet to beat him. When I went off to University, we decided to play a game via email. We both had boards set up by our PC’s, and we each took a turn sending an email, 1 per day, with our move of choice. It took several months, but it eventually came to an end… with my first chess win.
The Jays game / Dinner / Howie Mandel / Groundhog Day, Day o Fun
In grade 8, and as a matter of fact, the anniversary is coming up (June 21), my dad and I took a charter trip to a couple Jays games in T.O. Our first day was an afternoon game, leaving the night free. We went from the game to the ‘Old Spaghetti Factory’ for dinner. On our way back to the hotel, a scalper stopped us and tried to sell us tickets to the Howie Mandel show that had just begun. Nothing else to do, my dad bought the tickets. It was a great show – and even better because it was so impromptu. Following the show, we made it back to our room where we ordered a PPV movie – Bill Murray’s Groundhog day. Neither of us had heard of it, and it ended up becoming on of our favourite movies. A very fun filled day.
Learning Road Signs
When I was about the age of all the trips to the dump, we lived out in the Valley – meaning we spent a lot of time driving. My dad, at the time driving for Greyhound, had a lot of days off, meaning while my sis was at school, and my mom at work, we would spend the days together. I don’t remember much, but what I do remember is standing (that’s right, no car seat or seat belt for this guy), STANDING between the seat and the dash of my dad’s truck (and yes truck, we were true valley northerners). My dad would point out a road sign and ask “What does that mean?” and I would reply with full arm and body movements “The road is going to turn -> that-a-way”.
…and my personal favourite...
Watching my dad take my bike handle in the crotch... ha ha ha
In between our two houses in Skead, we had a camp trailer parked out on the lake, where we spent the ONE summer that we lived in Sudbury. I had a BMX style bike and had learned to pop-a-wheely. And not your standard ‘lift the front tire off the ground for a half second’, I’m talking about ride down the street peddling with the wheel off the ground style (of course I remember it looking WAY cooler than it probably was). Anyhow, my dad thought it would be a good idea to try it for himself. He started out alright – wheel off the ground. However the handle bar turned and when he came crashing back to the ground, the wheel was turned side ways ejecting him forward, directly into the crotch-facing handle. I need to point out though that the rubber handle was loose, and had moved inwards about an inch, causing the metal ring/bar to protrude out… and yeah, that’s what connected with the crotch (or mere centimeters from). He had a massive black welt that stayed there for several weeks following. Ha ha ha.
So, thanks for joining me in my memories.
Happy father’s day dad, and in the words of Randy (Travis) himself…
“Oh I’m gonna love you forever, forever and ever, Amen…”