Its Friday. School is out. We run home to pack our bags. We‘re so excited because our dad is coming to pick us up. We get to stay with him for the whole weekend. Of course he always had something fun planned. Or maybe just a bunch of ideas we could pick from. Sometimes he had to work a side job - but he would take us along. And somehow, that would end up being fun too. He so enjoyed exposing us to new things. We had many adventures when we were with him. I’m not sure I can count the amount of times that he had a super fun idea - then quickly his look of excitement was replaced by the look of “Oh Shit” as he realized his awesome idea might not be the safest thing for a “young city girl”. But we always had a blast and always landed fairly safe on the ground. He was never one to let the fear of what could happen get in the way of the joy of living. And although we had many good times with our dad - that isnt exactly what I wanted to talk about.
I wanted to talk about the ride. The traffic jams and the detours. He would pick us up - Friday at rush hour - from whatever city we happen to be living in at that time and drive us out to his place in whatever country town he happen to be in. Many times it would take hours. Hours of stop and go traffic. But that hour or two was never boring or stressful. We would tell him everything that had happened to us since we saw him last. We would tell him how we handled this or that. Always awaiting his laughter or his proud nod and smile. Sometimes he would be shocked at something we told him. Something rebellious we had done - but we were never afraid to tell him those things and deep down I know those things are what made him the proudest.
The music lover that he was would always let us control the radio stations. He shared his favorite music with us and allowed us to do the same. He would even learn some of the songs - the good ones and the horrible ones and sing along with us. He’d tell his crazy stories in his silly voices. He would pretty much do whatever we asked. What he wouldnt do is - tell us to be quiet because he had a long day at the office. He would never ask us to relax because his week had been stressful. He wouldn’t scream at the terrible drivers, although we did learn about a new use of a special finger during those rides. He was always himself - and always allowed us to be who we are. Life is full of happy and sad times - adventures that stand out in our memories. But the thing that usually molds and teaches us is the ride. The everyday. How we live inside all the normal moments in between. What we create for ourselves in the mundane. My dad was always so full of life and joy. He taught us - not so much with words, but by the way he lived.
It’s the simple things in life that make it wonderful. Its love - both the giving and recieving of it.
So the next time your waiting in line, sitting in a traffic jam or feeling bored or stressed - Please think of my dad and choose happiness. Sing a song, tell a story, look out into the world and see all of its beauty. Enjoy the ride, even the traffic jams and detours.
Dedicated to my beloved Father 💖
Wally "Gator" Prevost (6.14.56 - 9.25.15)