On Saturday, if my dad was still alive, he would have turned 95 years old. On Sunday, as I headed home to The North Country, I stopped at a tourist attraction between North and South Carolina. “South of The Border” is bigger but shabbier than the first time I visited almost 60 years ago. Route 95 didn’t exist back then, just the two lanes of Route 1. My mother, father, my two sisters and I drove there from western New York State during our two week Easter break. We made the trip in a camper, the kind that fitted on the back of pick-up truck. The tall figure with the sombreros holding the “South of The Border” sign is still there. He impressed me decades ago as he impresses me now.
I owe so much to my dad. He gave me the travel bug. He was the inspiration and motivator behind the many trips my family took to New England, Florida, and Canada. He is the one who introduced me to my beloved Adirondacks. We were poor but because of my parents’ problem solving and money management skills, our many wonderful adventures were made possible. My dad had a philosophy that wherever you go it was your responsibility to make the moment fun and enjoyable. He would talk to everyone and with his sense of humor and his genuine interest in people, he made instant connections with everyone he met.
Thanks, Dad for giving me the motivation to venture out into the world. Thank you for teaching me about the absolute joy of exploring distant places and connecting with new people. Thanks, Dad. I miss you.