As you can see from the previous blog entry, it's been a while since I wrote anything.  That's because the past few months have been full.  But not with adventures on motorcycles.  It's been about family.

My dad is 96 and my mom is 93.  And this will be the last Thanksgiving dinner with my dad.  We've reached that point in life where your full family shrinks a bit in a very hard way.  The past couple of months have shown us that time is short.  Below you see pictures of my mom pregnant with my brother Dave, and to the right, my dad, taken the same day in the summer of 1962.  So dad was 36 and mom 33 - just over 60 years ago.  In the prime of their lives having recently moved to Spokane from Louisiana.  The move was crazy because they drove here with three kids in the winter.

Through Wyoming and Idaho and up the old White Bird grade with all the switchbacks.  It's no longer used now, though it's still there.  I rode down it once on my motorcycle.  Crazy to think of my parents driving up that in the dead of winter.  Sometimes you don't know what's ahead and you just have to accept it and do the best you can.  Clearly they made it just fine.

I find that this Thanksgiving, I'm reflecting on how rich I am.  Mom and Dad raised four kids.  And we like each other.  Really.  Whenever we get together we laugh and kid each other.  We love hearing how all the families, now with grandkids, are all doing. My own three kids are all married and I love their spouses.  We too are now grandparents.  My wife and I are more deeply in love than we've ever been.  I have a great job in a small company where I work with fun and really smart people (still don't know how I ended up there) and will stay as long as I enjoy it and can keep up.  And I'm still healthy (though recovering from a partial knee replacement in September).

When I think of my dad, the word consistent comes to mind.  He has been the steady influence in our family's lives.  I'm a pretty decent mixture of my parents.  Steady like my dad and fidgety like my mom - always wanting to be on the move.  But I find I look back on how my dad steadied my family as we moved across the country, weathered tough economic days, raised four kids, and I can see that trait for what it is.  A foundational strength, anchoring us to reality, but also giving us the freedom to have fun and enjoy life.  I can see how he took the challenges that life threw at us and with a steady hand, steered our family through it all.  Was he worried?  You bet.  He has always had the worry gene in great quantity.  But it never caused him to waiver.  That's one legacy he's handed down to me: the example of being a steady, solid influence in my family despite my own self-doubts.

Thanks dad.  You've given me more than you know.

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