Friday, April 01, 2005

Driven Crazy

Wednesday morning I picked up my dad and headed off to my brother Jack's place in McKinleyville, which is just north of Eureka, about a 310 mile drive. He and his fiance were to be married Thursday, and my dad I wanted to attend. I was figuring on about a 6-7 hour drive. Jack tells me he does it in 4-1/2 hours, but I think he's crazy.

Dad and I left town about 9am, after stopping at Starbucks for the obligatory cup of coffee for the road. Driving down I-80 toward San Francisco, we hooked up with Highway 37, over to Highway 101 northbound to my brothers. It was a gorgeous day.

Dad and I never do turn on the radio when we go anywhere. The conversation is always enough to keep us busy, even on 6-1/2 hour drives. We debate, discuss, argue and chuckle about everything. One of us usually takes the devil-advocate position, even if we agree on the issue, just because it's fun.

The ONLY subject that I dread is when dad starts reminiscing about his newlywed days. He doesn't get graphic or too detailed, but being an old man (he's almost 79), he enjoys reminiscing about.... well.... you know.... those younger, randier times. I know intellectually that my parents were both young at one point, and I have 5 biological siblings so they had to get busy once in a while, but I don't need to hear my dad talk about THAT. I've learned to just grin and nod and listen politely.

On Highway 101 I noticed a ton of billboards advertising Indian Casinos. I try not to mention the casinos to my dad, because he's a slot machine addict, and whenever I mention a casino his eyebrows go up, he hums and begins making suggestions about, you know, how fun it would be to go by a casino... you know, just for a minute or a two hundred. Well, I made the mistake of noting all the billboards. His eyebrows went up, he started humming and making suggestions about... you know, how we have lots of time to kill....

That was probably the only time I've ever told my dad "no".

Ok... moving on.

We rolled in to McKinleyville around 4pm. We relaxed at my brother's place for a few minutes, then I went with Jack, who's on crutches right now waiting for knee surgery, and helped him with his little league team's first practice. Off to dinner after that. While at dinner, my dad mentions to Jack... "so, Mike tells me there's a lot of Indian Casinos up here...."


I went back to the motel room to go to be early (I was whooped!) while my brother took dad over to the casino. In dad's defense, he did win $100, which paid for our motel room. When dad got back to the room, around 11pm, he got ready for bed and asked me, "Mike, you don't snore like your brother, do you?" Last year my oldest brother Glenn took dad to Reno for a few nights, and I guess Glenn snores. I told dad I dunno if I snore or not, but wake me up if I do and I'll roll over. Dad went on and on about how noisy Glenn was last year, and how he didn't get any sleep.

So..... I settle in to go to sleep (mind you, I was tired!), dad settles in, and things are quiet.... for about 10 minutes. Suddenly, my dad starts this deep breathing.... really deep.... that sounds just like Dark Vader.

Breath in-pssssshhhhhhhh...
breath out-hhhhaaaaaaawwwwwwww....
Breath in-pssssshhhhhhhh...
breath out-hhhhaaaaaaawwwwwwww....

All night. Literally. I started laughing out loud. I couldn't help myself but to laugh at the irony. I think I got 3 hours of sleep. The next morning dad tells me, "Mike, you sure slept soundly. You made a few wheezing noises, but you only woke me up once." Thank goodness he's blind, because the face I made would have made him blush.

Thursday Jack took dad and I on a drive down to Clam Beach, Patrick's Point, and on up to Trinidad. Lord, the country around there is just beautiful. I have some pics that I'll post. I'm truly jealous of Jack, that he's gotten the chance to move to such a gorgeous, peaceful part of California. Later we got ready for the wedding, which was just a quiet ceremony at the courthouse. Quick and to the point, but very meaningful nonetheless.

Then we headed off for the trip back home. We left out of McKinleyville about 5:30pm and rolled into Sacramento about 11:45, still talking and debating most of the way.

All in all, I had a wonderful time. I got some great pictures, and got to know my new sister-in-law better.

Now, to get some sleep tonight.

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