Father and son, heads in the clouds

Last week we had a not especially good Executive Committee meeting of our Board of Trustees. Then I headed off into the wilderness (the high wilderness of the White Mountains of New Hampshire) with the Chair of that same Board – my boss for all intents and purposes. Not sure I’d recommend that to my fellow university presidents, but, then again, I have a special boss. He’s been section hiking the Appalachian Trail for ten years now, northbound from Georgia three weeks at a time. This summer, with good luck behind him, he’ll cross into Maine. Each year, he invites family and friends to join him for a piece of the hike. I consider myself fortunate to be among the invited two years running.

A year ago, my three days on the trail across Vermont – the home of the Green Mountains – were challenging but delightful. This week, I came to understand where the moniker “The White Mountains” came from. They are bigger, steeper, and way rockier.

But despite the fact that my thigh muscles are screaming very loudly at me right now, the trip was even more special for me than last year. Tyler, my baby boy, just 21, came along for the hike. It’s not often a dad gets so much alone time with one child. I was blessed earlier this summer to spend ten days with Ty’s older sister in Guatemala, just us two. And now this treat. He was a joy to be with every agonizing step on the way, never a complaint, always out front of the rest of us old guys, but we’d eventually find him waiting at some beautiful spot. My beautiful boy.

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4 Responses to Father and son, heads in the clouds

  1. Amanda says:

    so pleased you had special time with Tyler! Happy 4th and continue the blogging and all your other endeavors for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Nancy says:

    About 10 or 12 years ago, when my father began to feel his age, he came to the realization that he would not always be able physically to do things with his children like he wished. He set out on a campaign to share something special on a one-on-one basis…at least once, and sometimes multiple times…with each of his 4 children that would give him a glimpse into their passions and dreams. My brothers both chose camping/river trips to rivers where the water is still pure and the country relatively undefiled. My sister chose a Dude Ranch in the west for a week of horseback riding. I chose to take my father to “my” world of peace and joy in service in a Mexican border town. He went with me twice, and the bonds that were formed were unlike any that would have been possible had we not been away from our “normal” lives and without the rest of the family in tow. Each trip was a blessing to all of us, and I wouldn’t trade that time with my Dad for all the riches on earth.

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