Global pandemic, domestic political upheaval, and bird attacks notwithstanding, it was a good week of riding. Last week also marked the 8th anniversary of my father’s passing.

I don’t think it’s possible for me to ride my bike for a couple hours each day without thinking about my dad. He’s always there — memories of moments, conversations, arguments, and the telling of bad jokes. As I pedal through the scenery and take it all in, I think of my dad throughout the different phases of his life and of our relationship. It’s no stretch to say that my dad sits on my shoulder on every single ride.

I didn’t begin to truly understand my father until it was too late — until after he passed away. And it’s only because of his passing that I began to take inventory of our relationship, and accept that I was as responsible for the stresses, strains, and gaps as he was.

I guess that’s a common thing with middle-aged men — to seek a better understanding of their fathers only after they’ve gone. When it became a one-way conversation, getting to know my dad better could be done without any arguing. In-turn though, I’ve had to hear to my own voice and absorb my own thoughts.

I often wonder what my dad would think of me now — of my compulsion toward ambling through the woods each taking pictures of little things. I wonder how he’d feel about the shtick I write and whether he’d enjoy it, or mark it up and send it back to me for correction. I wonder if he’d understand my reasons — my need to ride bikes each day. I wonder if he’d approve of the way I’m taking care of my mother, and how surprised he’d be that I’m still making a living doing what he thought I’d never make a go of.

Through much of my adult life, especially after I was married and after I became a father myself, I avoided my dad. I called him minimally, visited him infrequently, and I never put forth the effort into connecting with him that he put in reaching out to me.

There was definitely love between us, respect, and appreciation. If I’m being honest though, I was a dick to my dad more often than not, standoffish, and aloof in his presence. In hindsight, I’m certain that hurt him deep down, but on the surface he never let it show. He probably recognized his younger self in me and loved me anyway.

When I’m out there, pedaling long stretches of these rural roads, and when the wind is to my back and I’m deep in the rhythm of my ride, I think about the man. I think about the moments, the arguments, and the jokes we shared — in good times and in bad.

I think about being able to say I love you to him one more time — something that didn’t come as easy for me as it did for him. Forever is a long time to regret not saying I love you enough.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6
169 miles
8,100’ climbing
15.4 mph avg
9,600 calories
11 hours 0 minutes seat time

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Yes — one of the finest songs ever recorded. Enjoy…

9 thoughts on “Oh Daddy…

  1. Bittersweet and poignant. Dads are so impotent in our lives. In the South they say “You ain’t a man till your Daddy says you are.” I’ve had my issues with my dad, but this last January, we went to see our shared alma mater play in the Gator Bowl (they lost like always), and that allowed us to really connect better than ever. It was a gift for both of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Through the years, I sense that your relationship with your dad isn’t too different than the one I had with my dad. Unfortunately, I never got that final game, and that’s my regret…

      Thank you, as always for checking in!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your Dad is proudly looking upon you and your brother. Our Dad’s were similar in many ways. Military men,providing the best they could for their family. My old man gave us Tough Love.Expected us to get shit done,and we didn’t get the warm and fuzzy’s atta boys. You not visiting your Dad as frequently,was because of your focus and love you gave Chelsea and Trudy, they were your priority. I got into the biggest cuss out session with my old man, he chewed my ass out telling me don’t you forget your roots and where you came from. Because I was trying to climb the corporate ladder and wasn’t visiting him and my family. Like you I too was trying the best I could to take care of Susan and the kids.Funny our Dad’s are both Al’s yours Allen, mine Albert,your Dad played trumpet , mine the trombone,both loved photography,and traveling.
    And Yes your Dad is grateful for the care you’re giving your Mother. He’s riding right along with you ! Be well My brother. Keeping honoring your Dad !!

    Liked by 2 people

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