In 1980 I took a road trip to Jacksonville, Florida with my dad and uncle to see the South Carolina Gamecocks play the Pittsburg Panthers in the Gator Bowl. I was 13. I cherish that trip to this day.
A little over a week ago, I took a similar trek with my 10 year old son. Thanks to Chevrolet, Walker and I went on an incredible, five- day, father-son, baseball adventure. Chevy sprung for the entire jaunt. They bought us tickets, hotdogs and hotel rooms, as well as gave us a Chevy Cruze Diesel to drive. It was grand, more on the car in a later post.
The experience of complete contentment is fleeting in our lives, and usually reserved for a few special moments that magically appear when everything fits together perfectly. Some say this harmonious intersection of time, place, people and thought, occurs only a handful of times for most. It is important not to miss.
I experienced such a moment back in 80’while rolling down a Carolina highway, the anticipation of a special football game dancing in my head, and the two men I admired and loved most in the world, laughing and joking in the front seat. In that moment, from my perch in the back, everything was as it should be. The memory is vivid. Even today, when I think of my uncle who died several years later, it is his image from that trip I remember most. And when reflecting on the many happy times spent with my own dad, that particular road trip stands out.
As a father and a baseball fan, the opportunity to take a multi-ballpark road trip with my oldest son was tremendous. We attended three major league baseball games, ate copious amounts of roasted peanuts & chili cheese dogs, and root, root, rooted for the home team. Walker caught a foul ball, chided the umps after bad calls, and wore his brand new Rangers jersey the entire trip. To top it all off, we were invited to serve as Chevrolet’s representatives for MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Program presentation held at home plate prior to Sunday’s game. When they flashed Walker’s beaming face onto the jumbo-tron, and announced his name to the crowd at Ranger’s Stadium, the planets aligned.
Yet the moments that will surely linger most in my memory, occurred during the quieter times of our trip. It is the hours of conversation spent discussing super heroes, tacos and fantasy football on the drive down to Houston that resonate. The recollection of our long search for a free, cool drink of water during a jog in downtown Arlington, after leaving my wallet in the hotel room before our run, makes me chuckle. And the thoughts of several late-night, room service sub sandwiches, shared way passed our bed time just because we were a little hungry, will forever make me smile. These are the times complete contentment swept over me.
It is the time we spend with the people we love most, that ultimately determines the richness of our lives. How thankful I am to have shared such a trip with my son, and to have experienced that harmonious intersection of things, once again. Sometimes the perception gathered on a grand stage reveals the true magnitude of the simpler moments in life. I can’t predict when Walker and I will share another big adventure, or when a similar, momentous occasion will occur for me and my younger two children. I do know however, there will be opportunities for goofy conversations in carpool, requests to play games before dinner, and stories to be read before bedtime. Let me always be aware of this magic.