Just last weekend I took the opportunity to visit dad. I hadn’t seen him since mom’s memorial service, two years previous. And living half the country away in Austin Texas, makes regular visits difficult.
Since then he has sold the house I grew up in (selling for over 23 times what he paid for it in 1964!) and moved into a really nice two bedroom apartment in a retirement community just a few miles away from the ‘ol homestead.
At 86 my father is still doing quite well, even if he has slowed down a bit. Mostly we just spent some quality father/son time together.
I flew in on a Friday afternoon and dad picked me up at Dulles. On the drive home it seems our conversation got in the way of our navigation and we managed to completely pass our exit and go another 10-15 miles east into Falls Church. So I got a tour of suburban Northern Virginia. Parts of the area that I should have recognized but almost didn’t. It’s odd seeing the places you grew up around after 30-plus years of change; barely recognizable.
After getting back to his new place (and his afternoon nap) we went out to an Italian place that he and Mom have frequented since it opened, in the 80s. The Espisito’s is a delightful restaurant and I can see why he keeps coming back year after year.
It is a simple place with checkered tablecloths and delicious Italian fare. here we can see dad doing something he has done my (and likely his) entire life. Straightening the fork tines with a knife.
Try it sometime it will
delight annoy your friends and family!
The food was delicious and everyone there knew my father. The owner was there and she remembered my mother fondly to me.
Unfortunately my wife could not make the trip so we kept in touch via text message, dad said hi:
The next day we had originally planned on doing some shopping and maybe seeing the Air and Space Museum Annex, but as fate would have it dad’s 86 year old constitution was not up to it, so we spent the day quietly at home, reading, talking and the like.
Dad has a remarkable collection of old family albums, and the downtime available on Saturday gave me the opportunity to go through many of them. Some of the albums I had never seen, including one with some pictures of mom as a baby. I was struck by this one. Baby Barbara Blashill is all of a year old (give or take) and she looked so much like the woman that was to become my mother it was odd. Here is the first picture (likely from sometime in 1930)
And now a much later picture, by about 30 years. I know the resemblance is there (and should be) but to my (unpracticed, never had kids, eye) it’s downright spooky.
Saturday went by pleasantly and soon enough Sunday arrived and I had to get back on my plane to Austin. Too soon in fact. Visiting with dad just a couple of months before his 86th birthday made me appreciate how quickly time goes by. Makes me wish I lived closer and could visit more often.
Something a friend told me many years ago comes to mind, don’t let too much time pass by before you see your family again. As soon enough you may regret not visiting more often.
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