One of the most enchanting things about our dad was he knew how to treasure the simple pleasures in life. He loved nature and being outdoors and shared that love of nature with my sister Abby and me. One of our favorite places to explore together was “The Rock Garden.” It was over by the lake in our town and had a winding path through trees, flowers, ponds and a waterfall.
While strolling through the garden, Dad would point out special flowers, beautiful butterflies, and based on the glory of nature around us, he engaged us in make believe stories. We felt like we were the only people in this magical place Dad had created and wished to disregard anyone or anything else interrupting our experience.
After our garden tour, we would almost always wind up at the Walgreen’s counter sipping on nickel Cokes. All hopped on the glory of nature (and Coca-Cola), often my sister and I would spin on the seats until we were ready to take flight. Dad would laugh and would say he could not indulge in such pleasure since it would make him dizzy.
After filling our need for something sweet and fizzy, Dad would take us on a long drive, often out in the country. If it was spring time, we would look at the crops and he would give us his opinion of their progress. If it was winter, we would look at the beautiful, frozen land and imagine how different it would look in a few short months.
We talked about all kinds of things on these outings, but rarely was our mother mentioned. None of us wished to burst the bubble of tranquility by discussing the inevitable: we would eventually have to return home.
No doubt, our Dad was giving us all a break from her antics. Today, this is referred to as a mental health day. Back then, we just treasured it as special time with Dad, and a break from the turmoil at home with Mother.
Indeed it was not only healthy to spend some time away from the negativity, it was memorable. Abby and I treasure those special memories and would give anything for just one more walk together with Dad.
Take a moment on this Valentine’s Day, and every day, to enjoy and treasure the simple pleasures that are all around.