Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Correcting the family vacation detox

I hear it’s common for fathers on their deathbeds to lament they didn’t spend more time with their children.

That’s not me. I foresee my deathbed regret being I didn’t spend more time watching TV.

I wonder if I’d have agreed to the deal if someone had warned me just how much parenting would cut into my TV viewing. There’s so many shows I want to watch, so much sports I want to witness, but I want to set a good example for our girls and that last bit is killing me.

I love our daughters and all the time I get to spend with them, but sometimes you just have to say enough’s enough.

Maybe it’s feeling acute because we just got back from vacation, which is in many ways like being confined to a minimum security cell block, albeit one where you spend lots of time slathering lotion on one another. And call me naive, but I just don’t see that much SPF 30 being distributed in the slam.

But like being in prison, it’s just the four of you for days and days in the car or the house or at the beach.  Eat, play, travel — everything is done as a unit.

A friend saw a picture I’d posted and speculated it must have been difficult to leave the Outer Banks.

Yes, it was wonderful, but I’ll admit I drove faster and more recklessly on the way home than I did on the way down. Of course, the way down included a visit with the in-laws so a certain amount of deliberate dawdling must be factored in.

But six days was plenty. 

Another problem is I can’t ease off the fathering pedal. I’m a very potent father.

Not in the way father-of-19 Jim Bob Duggan is potent, certainly, but I’m always looking for ways to shape the children in the hopes they’ll avoid becoming uncouth morons that make up such a large swath of our national demography.

And, for God’s sake, I have to do all this sober.

Val and I enjoyed some wine and beers on the trip, but I was very responsible. I’m very aware that my daughters are always watching me and I need to set a good example.

So when I got home Saturday I ran straight to the bar. I missed my friends, I missed swearing and I missed behaving in ways middle school health teachers say will lead to my early demise.

Many people go on vacation to change unhealthy behaviors. They need to detox.

When I get home from vacation I need to REtox.

That’s what’s scheduled for this week. I coincidentally will be visited by two very good friends the next two days who’ll assist me in the debauch. 

There’s still time for you to make it to The Pond for lunch today. My legendary friend Angelo Cammarata and his two sons are coming for the afternoon.

The Guinness Book of World Records cited him in 1987 for being the world’s longest serving bartender. He poured his first beer on April 7, 1933, at midnight, the exact moment killjoy Prohibition in America ended. He poured them clear through 2009 when he had to retire for health reasons.

Not his.

His 59-year-old son suffered a heart attack and could no longer run the bar.

When the Steelers sought to honor their most devout fans by having them submit 5-word reasons, Camm’s was “Season ticket holder since 1933.” 

I attended his 100th birthday in March. He’s one of the greatest men I’ve ever known.

I once asked him when he was 92 to pinpoint the best years of his life, figuring he’d give a very narrow answer. He didn’t.

“For me, the best years were from when I was 40 to about 75. Those were just really great years.”

What an inspiration.

And then tomorrow a buddy from Ohio University is stopping by for golf, Steeler camp and all the associated silliness.

During stops at home, my daughters will see me laughing, having fun, being social and enjoying life the way it ought to be.

What they won’t see me doing is sitting on my rear watching hours and hours of TV.

That’s something I hope to do again one day when the girls are done watching me.

Related . . .

No comments: