Younger Son, at 16, is fairly easy for me to still make a captive audience since I still retain some supposed authority in his life. The focused times with Older Son and Daughter, however, at 23 and 20, respectively, come a little less frequent now that they are “adults.”
As I have previously written, I work in Memphis part of each week. Last Wednesday Daughter came over to go see the musical “Wicked” with me (she gave me the tickets for Father’s Day) which is in the middle of a run at the Orpheum, a beautiful old theater in the downtown area. I have a tiny little apartment nearby but, given its size and the fact that I only have one bed, I got a hotel room for us.
We went to a great “edgy” restaurant and sat at the sushi bar. This is something my boys would never do and it’s a little outside my comfort zone as well, but it’s right up Daughter’s alley and it is so cool to let her gently prod me into doing things that otherwise would not be on my agenda. She introduced me to sushi a couple of years ago and now I’m a big fan.
I told her to order for us and we had a great meal mixed with great conversation and laughter. She still thinks she knows what’s best for most of our family members (especially her brothers) and takes opportunities such as this to convey those thoughts to me.
She had the waitress take a picture of us. I might add that Daughter documents every event with photos. She literally wears out cameras. We make good-natured fun of her for this at times but, in reality, we are glad she is thoughtful enough to take pictures that she ends up sharing with all of us. I used to be pretty good about it myself but now I just depend on her.
After dinner it was on to the play and Daughter continued to snap photos as we walked up on the Orpheum. We saw “Wicked” in New York City last summer and she loved it. She has the soundtrack and knows just about every song by heart.
The second time around definitely did not disappoint. I wrote in a post last year about reading the book, which is dark and weird. The play, however, is really fun and I think I liked it even better this time.
More laughter and picture taking followed. We got someone to take one of the two of us alongside the “Wicked” marquee outside the theater, then she took several more of other downtown sites as we walked back to the car. We made a late-night stop at Sonic, one of our favorite haunts (we love the ice!), and made it back to the hotel about 11:30. Of course she had to catch up on her texting while I went to bed.
I left her sleeping the next morning as I went on to work.
It could not have been a better “date” for this aging dad and as I write this I am smiling as I think back on this special time. Odds are I will give this precious child away to some unworthy male in the years to come (if I am forced to) and times such as this will be less frequent. I’ll take them while I still can.
Saturday morning Older Son and I boarded a plane for a short flight to Tampa to catch a couple of baseball games. Upon landing, we rented a car and made our way over to St. Petersburg where we had an early lunch at a seafood restaurant that had been recommended to us, then spent the afternoon at St. Pete Beach. I had found a pretty reasonably priced beachside hotel which I thought would be enjoyable for us since we would have the better part of a day there.
Under a cabana that shielded me from the sun, but from where I could see and hear the waves, I finished one book and started another, putting it down when Older Son was in the mood for conversation. Like his sister, he has many opinions on matters that come up within our family and is happy to share with me the wisdom he has acquired in his 23 years of life. It was a restful and peaceful afternoon.
Late in the afternoon we made the short drive to Tropicana Field for the first of two games we would attend between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics. Older Son is on a quest to visit every Major League ballpark, a journey he began when he was eight years old. This was his 18th team and his 21st field (the teams keep building new stadiums so there is some duplication). I have made most of them with him, but not all.
We both liked Tropicana Field, a very attractive domed stadium that is quite comfortable. There is a tank full of stingrays in the outfield, some of which you can even touch, in keeping with the ocean theme and the mascot name. Baseball purists largely eschew the inside ballparks but, for being in the heart of Florida in the summer with its sweltering heat and humidity, you can’t beat sitting inside in the air conditioning.
Even though we had been able to easily get great seats in advance for much less than face value, there were large and enthusiastic crowds at both games we attended. It appears that Central Floridians (or do you call yourselves South Floridians, Quid?) are finally catching on to baseball after some years of dismal attendance figures in the Tampa Bay area. Of course winning the American League pennant last year probably helped.
We saw good games on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, even though the A’s, one of baseball’s worst teams this season and who are sitting comfortably in the AL West cellar, kicked it in during the seventh inning of each game and took it to the home team. So we saw two home losses.
The highlight of the trip was that, after fifteen years of going to MLB games with no true game souveniers, Older Son caught not one, but TWO foul balls, one at each game! I use the term “caught” loosely in that he got Saturday night’s “on the bounce,” although it was a true catch which he attributed largely to skills he developed as an infielder. Ahem. (When we were back in our hotel room later, he was lying on his back in bed throwing the ball up in the air. He denies having slept with it).
Sunday afternoon’s trophy was just a result of right living, I guess. This one popped into the stands, bounced a couple of times amid the scramble that inevitably takes place when a ball soars into the seats, then landed beneath his seat where he was able to bend over and retrieve it. I think he thought, maybe for a split second, of giving that one away to a little boy sitting nearby but shared with me later that “nobody will believe I got two balls if I don’t come home with them!”
We were back home in time for dinner with the family Sunday night, another MLB ballpark under our belts and memories of another great time.
Not much to say here in summary; I think these little experiences speak for themselves. And I am thankful.
"No One Mourns the Wicked..."
Eating Sushi with Maggie
and Daniel with one of his two "trophies"
and Daniel with one of his two "trophies"