AC Capehart/Dry spell / dad

Created Thu, 24 Feb 2005 16:58:17 +0000 Modified Thu, 14 Oct 2021 14:31:47 +0000
899 Words

I was afraid of this, when I started. Creativity drought. Some of the things I have to say, simply can’t be said yet. Others seem too mundane to say. Still more might be appropriate for this forum but feel like they’ve arrived just so that I have something to say here.

I will doubtless have some stories next week though. This weekend will be interesting. I’m going down to Richmond to spend some time with my dad for his birthday. His birthday is January 20th. Every year, on or about his birthday, we would go to (or meet in once I’d moved out) Washington, DC. On inauguration years, we’d take in the pomp and circumstance involved. There’s a picture somewhere of me sitting on my dad’s shoulders at the Carter inauguration.

My dad is a good, southern, yellow dog democrat. He believes in the rights of the state over those of the individual. As far as I can tell, he sees no hypocrisy in his desire for the repeal of drug laws (at least for whatever drugs he is interested in) and his support of continued right of eminent domain for rail corridors. He’s president of North Carolina Rail Trails and he regularly lobbies the government to not let land that was claimed (stolen) for railroad use return to the hands of the adjacent property owners.

I like to use rail trails. And my dad makes a strong case for them. The traffic they generate is good for area commerce. The volume of trail users tends to lower crime and trash along their route rather than raise it as is often the fear of adjacent land owners. It just feels to me like he’s lobbying the wrong group. Impress the land owners that it’s good for them. But it’s much easier to lobby one central organization than such a diverse group. And if someone in the middle says no, it does kinda ruin the trail.

Anyway, I digress. The yellow dog democrat information was just a prelude to an explanation of why we didn’t meet in Washington DC this year for the re-inauguration of George W. Something about George’s administration has touched my dad emotionally in a way that the Reagan/Bush administration never did. He finally didn’t want to go stand in crappy weather at the side of the road, straining to hear the loudspeakers in the distance while being kept at bay by military and police officers spaced every 3-5 feet apart and then watch a couple of limos go by followed by a long parade of people who must be really glad to be allowed to participate because why else would they wear such unusual and uncomfortable-looking attire in a 30 degree (F) slush fall standing around for several hours and then marching a couple of blocks. Whew, what a run on sentence it took me to get all of that out! Clearly, I don’t blame him for wanting to miss this. I’d already broken the tradition for one of the Clinton inaugurations due to graduate school meetings of some sort or another.

Anyway, we were going to meet in Richmond closer to his birthday this year, but snow got in the way. In central PA, snow is a way of life. We’ve learned to deal with it, I was ready to travel. In central NC, snow is not a way of life. Roads were not cleared, it was still coming down, he decided to postpone.

I’m excited by our meeting in Richmond. A lot of my family’s history is in Richmond, but I now have no living family still there. The house where my grandfather grew up is currently only one set of owners away from the family, and they have been tremendously generous in having us over and curious about the history of their home. But, this year, they’re selling.

So, this weekend, I’m going to meet my dad in the town where he grew up and stay one last time in the house where his father grew up. We’re going to travel around Richmond and see what remains of my dad’s haunts. See where his 1950’s black Chevy nicknamed “pushy” got stuck as he tried to drive it up the side of the reservoir. Cross the “nickel bridge” which took a quarter to cross last time I was in town. And I’m going to take pictures. And try to ask as many questions as I can think of.

I don’t always get a long with my dad, but I do love and appreciate him, and I’m very much looking forward to this glimpse into his past and the environment that molded him.