And despite some of the bad times, I look back on my childhood and think it was all another day in paradise.
One summer afternoon I was taking my Dad's picture. We couldn't stop laughing. I can't even remember what we were talking about, but it doesn't matter. It never took much to get our motors running. Both our bodies shook wildly as we laughed hysterically and each picture progressively worsened. Sometimes around the Jonas household, even the simplest of tasks were difficult to accomplish. Out of ten pictures, these are the only ones that came out. Not surprisingly, they were the first two.
After scouring the Tyler Courier Times want-ads one Saturday morning we all piled into Dad's big-ass, forest green, 6 MPG Lincoln Mark IV with the "Mafia Staff Car. Keepa You Hands Off" bumper sticker and headed off to go watch Dad, the master, take advantage of the unsuspecting seller of a Yamaha DT 100.
Dad was a real master of the art of negotiation. Some of the biggest smiles on my Father's face occurred immediately after talking someone up or down to his price. From lake lots and houses to oil and mineral rights deeds, Dad was a player and he had a passion for the game of negotiation.
The Yammy seller didn't take long to succumb to the master and the Jonas' had a new family member - a shiny, new-to-us, run-it-in-the-dirt-till-it-will-run-no-more, green Yammy DT 100. Looks like my brother's incessant hounding actually paid off for once.
My brother and I (post tippy-toe) ran that little DT into the dirt. I remember Dad telling us that that was the last bike he was going to buy. So we spent part of the time fixing the bike and the other part riding. I mostly watched the fixing. Occassionally holding a screw driver or a pair of pliers for my brother, but nothing too involved. I wanted to keep my involvement simple and direct. After all, it wasn't even my bike.
At times, the open road brings temporary solace and a little slice of heaven. There are times when I'm on the road when I feel as though I've never been as close to my Father as I am at that very moment. I cherish, honor and seek out those moments because, until the day I die, that's as close to him as I'll ever be. The road is a powerful place, indeed.
I took a trip to see my Father today. And while roaming some old roads of East Texas I found myself reflecting on the thoughts above and how lucky the Jonas children were to be blessed with a Father like him. I was riding along with my Father and thinking, "Yep. This is just another day in paradise."
Happy birthday, Dad.