Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there fighting the good fight! Here’s my story for Father’s Day:
It’s about 1974, and we’re late for the concert. My dad is the conductor for the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, and as it is with our family, we’re late getting out the door for a show that is starting at 8pm.
My sister Michelle, then a toddler, has already barfed all over my dad’s tux (which, it being 1974, was probably purple anyway). The family piles into our VW Fastback and my dad, with baton and scores shoved into his brown briefcase, floors it out of our driveway; it is 7:54pm.
We’re zooming all the way to downtown, with the tension in the car becoming insane. About three blocks from the concert hall, the unthinkable happens: clanking bells, red lights, and giant wooden arms close the road. A train is coming, and we’re stuck on the other side.
Not just a train, but a 350-car cattle train from the bowels of Iowa, full of grain, coal, cows and god knows what else. It’s moving at about four miles per hour. I look outside and I can’t even see the caboose, and begin to freak out.
The whole car begins to freak out. But my dad, usually pretty intense, just leaned his head back and smiled. “Calm down,” he said, “they can’t start without me.”
In that moment I thought my dad was the biggest rock star I’d ever known. Feel free to share yours.
my dad and I clean the VW Fastback, 1968