Monday, June 06, 2005

the ultimate vacation

At the end of the month, my Dad will finally retire from his job at Northwest Airlines. For over 30 years, he's worked for that company both at the ticket counter and in air cargo. Dad's been looking forward to this for a while, and has a few major projects stacked up to keep him busy.

If anyone deserves a rest, it's Dad. Imagine waking up at 3:30AM every weekday morning, going to your 5AM morning shift, and busting your ass for customers who rarely-- if ever-- show you any appreciation. The day ends after lunch (usually around 1:30PM for Dad), but you're dead tired and still have to work on things at home.

For years, Dad was on this schedule while also serving in the Air Force Reserves (he was active Air Force in the 1960s) and, later, the Maryland Air National Guard. Military duties took him to Aviano, Italy, as well as to Saudi Arabia. I don't know how he's kept his sanity so long.

Here's a recent photo of Dad on his first camping trip in a couple years, taken in the evening with a cell phone cam:

Dad went with my brother David to Skyline Drive in Virginia. He'd just bought that huge new tent and was eager to test it out. The weather was miserable, but it was good tent-testing weather, and Dad, a natural hiker and camper, wasn't about to be put off by a little ambient moisture.

Here's what Dad wrote in a recent email:

Camping was great!! We bought a new Coleman Weathermaster tent allegedly capable of sleeping 8 people - it worked just fine! We drove down to Loft Mtn. and stayed for one night. I must admit I was acting like a little kid, I was so excited and happy. The weather was poor - we had rain, wind and fog for the whole period, but that was alright. The temperature was cool...low 40s to upper 50s. We saw deer but no bears, and the foliage on Skyline Drive is about 2-3 weeks behind us here at the house. David and I are trying to see when we can go again...maybe Mom will come. It's a good thing she didn't go with us this past trip...she would have frozen and been miserable.

A clearer picture of Dad here:

I heard rumblings that Mom and Dad might make it to Korea in October. They're hoping to hit Chejudo and visit China while in Asia. As a family, we did Cheju back in 1986, and I haven't been back there since. I'd love to join them on their travels, but I have a feeling I'll have too many university obligations to do more than hike up Namsan with Dad and show them around Seoul.


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