Sunday, June 20, 2010

Older Than Dirt But Not Compost Yet

It's always a challenge to think of new things to do with my Dad when he comes for his yearly visit.  After 30 plus trips out here, it's getting harder to find something he hasn't seen or done yet.  And even though it's hard to imagine anything more interesting and stimulating than just hanging out with me, I feel I should make the effort to give him an alternate choice.  Once again this year I amazed even myself with what I came up with.

It had been raining for days before he arrived, so the first day he was here we drove him out to see the rising river and allowed him to stand in the gentle rain (which softened his snowy white hair) and watch his breath form delicate clouds each time he breathed out.

As we were viewing the nearly flood-stage river, a train load of wind turbine blades went by.

Ever since they showed up on the horizon I’ve wanted to see the wind turbines up close and personal, so I took that trainload of blades as a sign that it was time to do it.  I figured my dad would want to also. I felt pretty proud that my Dad thought I was a good enough photographer to take all the pictures.

Or hmmm, maybe he just thought the rain had softened his hair enough by then.

I couldn't believe it when he mentioned to me that in his 79 years and 348 days of life, he had never been to a rodeo. 30 plus trips to WYOMING, the COWBOY state, and we’d never taken him to a rodeo?! How did that happen?  It just so happened that the College National Finals Rodeo was being held here...another sign. So the second day of his visit we picked up the grandkids, and make a beeline for the rodeo. I volunteered to stand in the ticket line, in the rain, but I think my dad felt his hair needed to be softened again because he said he would do it. So he waited, in the rain, at the end of a fifty foot line of wrangler jeans, cowboy hats, and pointy-toed cowboy boots while the kids and I huddled under an overhang, waiting. After ten minutes of watching the line go nowhere I figured his hair was soft enough so I called him over and told him we were going to do something even more fun than sit in seats with no leg room, peering over ten-gallon hats.

We went to the movies! Five bags of popcorn, four boxes of candy and four drinks later we were settled in. An hour and a half later we emerged with popcorn bits down our front and decreased hearing, but we were dry.

The one thing Dad is guaranteed to do when he visits is take a trip to the mall. Normally my dad likes to buy a coat. The only person I know who has more coats than my dad is Abby.  Hey...........wait a coat-buying ... genetic?  But this time he surprised me and bought an iPod Touch.  Yes, even though he is older than dirt, he is rippin’ cds, surfin’ in a tiny window and his e-mails are "sent from my ipod."

His last day here we decided to attempt the rodeo again and this time there was no line. We got our tickets, found some good rodeo watchin’ seats and settled in. It wasn’t long til I realized Dad and I probably should have tried harder to fit into the cowboy crowd. I do have boots but they definitely don't look like these. 

And I didn't wear them anyway.

I don’t think I could make my hair do this even if I wanted to.

Dad did have a white hat but not like these.

I guess these guys didn’t get the memo. "White after Memorial Day, guys."

The local newspaper had been interviewing rodeo participants and one of the questions they would ask was “what is your least favorite college class?” One cowgirl said her least favorite class was Geology because “rocks are boring.” (I ... am .... not .... laughing ...  trying not ..... to ........snort). One cowboy answered “English. I already speak it, so I shouldn’t have to learn it.” His future plan was to “own bulls, get married, and start a family.”

Seriously, cowboy? You don’t think you might need to be able to read the fine print in the sales agreement you’re going to sign when you buy those bulls…or write your own sales agreement if you want to sell the bulls you raised? Or gosh, maybe after you’ve done this

or this

one too many times, you might need to write a resume to get a job that doesn't require you to beat your body to a pulp.  You might have to sit at a desk and write memos and reports so you can feed that family you want to start. Think you’ll wish you would have learned it then?  I think it would be kinda funny if that cowboy and cowgirl got married and raised a child who learned to love geology and rock collecting through hours of practicing words for the spelling bee.

After the rodeo we took our inappropriately dressed bodies to Leslie and Ryan's and helped Pierce celebrate his third birthday.  This celebration involved some pool time, a treasure hunt for a present, cake and ice cream and kite flying.   For more birthday photos you can go here.

The next morning Dad headed home. I’m sure he was tired but his hair was soft.  Don't worry Dad.  I'm working on activities for your next visit.......that kite flying gave me an idea ... how are you with hot air balloons ... ?◦


Jerry said...

Your "Elderly" father does not to get more than 6" off the ground.

Art Elser said...

Wow! When I come up to Casper next time can I be a surrogate Dad for you? I don't want to stand in the rain, but the rest of the stuff sounded pretty good. I won't tell Al where we're going.

Hmmm! Do you know any geologists? They aren't really boring, they just move at the pace of a tectonic plate, so you have to stand around a long time to see where they're going.

Leslie said...

Those birthday photos are great!

Abby said...

I think cake decorating genes must skip a generation, I don't remember cakes that cool when I was growing up :-)

Amber said...

I noticed slamming Geology took just one sentence but there are two whole paragraphs devoted to defending English. You must be an English major! :) I hope your last statement is true, that those two people get married and have a child who becomes a geologist...and learns English better than his/her parents. But, in all likelihood, the kid will ride bulls or barrel race and know that there is dirt on the ground and minimal reading is required to survive.