My dad is a creature of habbit, but I think I've figured out why.
|My father is a creature of habit. Every Friday he goes to the La Hacienda Tex-Mex Restaurant to order the same mediocre Chicken Fajitas. When he lost his job three years ago, he continued to get up at five am every morning even though the only place he had to go was the breakfast table. To this day he continues to spell the word awkward “occward” because he says it “looks right.”
Dad’s fear of the unknown even dictates our family vacations. Every year on July 14, my mother, father, sister, and I get up to catch the RED-EYE flight to Estes Park, Colorado. On the way to DFW Airport, every year, Dad comments on how he can’t believe Southwest Airlines doesn’t fly to Denver International – “We would probably save $30 a ticket if they did.” And every year, when our Boeing 737 makes its final approach, my dad gets the same Christmas morning look on his face when the Rocky Mountains make their first glorious appearance – squished together in our plane’s tiny porthole windows.
It’s hard for me to understand what joy my dad gets from seeing the same mountains year after year after year. All I get out of our vacations, year after year after year, is altitude sickness. Our mid-size rental cars from Avis are the same. Our cabin at the YMCA of the Rockies is the same. And our weekly hike schedule is the same. The museum in downtown Estes Park has a framed black and white panoramic photograph of the town as it was in 1917, and you know what? It’s the same as modern-day Estes.
When we go out to eat at The Sweet Basil Italian Restaurant on our first night in town, my mom always says, “It feels like we never left.” I’ve always known it feels that way because each and every day in Estes Park is simply a recreation of the last.
But Dad doesn’t look at Estes Park or the Rockies and see what I see. Instead, when he feels the cool morning breeze sweeping in off of the mountain pines, or when he sees the white ice caps drizzled down the mountain summits like icing on a piece of candy corn, he recognizes that another year has come and gone and he has brought his family through it.
Dad works a job he doesn’t enjoy so that he can pay for a college he doesn’t attend. He picks up Wendy’s salads for us every night even though he would much rather have a turkey breast sandwich with red wine vinaigrette dressing from Subway. He paid over three thousand dollars for a TV that his son, daughter, and wife hog while his baseball and football games are being televised on other channels (in high-definition no less). To Dad, Estes Park is an escape from the compromises he makes as a husband and a father at home. To him, the trip is not boring or monotonous. It’s his two-week escape in the clouds, and it’s well-earned.