In my mind's eye I can still see the clothes I was wearing and the weather that day. I remember the car we had. The places we walked, the scenery, and the sunlight are all so clear in my mind. It only happened once in the 75 years I knew my Dad.
Dad suggested we go on a hike, just me and him. He said we could hike from our house out to the big dam on the edge of town. So we did. We walked from our house down the hill to the river. We pushed through the scrub that fringed the river and followed its twists and turns as it wound its way westward. Some places there were trails. Other places there was nowhere to walk, and we had to wade through the river.
We crossed back and forth. We climbed up and we slid down. We teetered on slippery rocks, and we trudged through gooey mud.
Every step was an adventure. In a little boy's mind, there were wild Indians lurking behind every bush. There were buffalo and wild horses drinking at still pools. Panthers and elephants, and fierce lions threatened us at every bend in the river, but we were very brave, me and Dad. We watched for snakes and crocodiles, for things that go SPLASH in the night. We imagined enormous fish behind every watery root, and wished we had brought our fishing lines. We tramped long dusty miles (at least three of 'em) without food or drink. But we were brave, me and my Dad.
At last we climbed up out of the riverbed to look at the big dam. The Great Adventure was finished. Mom and Sis were waiting in the car, and supper was cooking at home. And this little boy talked non stop all the way home about going adventuring with dad.
Me and Dad. We were very brave. I have never forgotten Dad taking me on the Great Adventure.
That's why dads need to go adventuring with their sons. Boys are counting on dads to teach them how to be brave.
And they will never forget.
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