Time with Dad is precious. See he was a Cold War solider for the first 21 years of my life.
During spring break we were going to all watch the Winter Olympics, and instead he went off with the Corps of Engineers to make sure the ice did not melt in that unusually warm winter period. While living in Japan I went on numerous camp outs while he had to go up and recon Hokkaido beaches the Russians would try to land on...did I mention a Russian fighter shadowed them the whole time only a few months before and after KAL 007? I know I was young, but I read the Army Staff School monthly magazine at the age of 9, and Jane's Defense memorized by 12. I was worried for my Dad, and in awe of what he and his friends were doing for my freedom.
So my few trips with Dad are pretty warm memories. The photo above is from Berlin in 1994. He came over in my first six months away from the US to make sure I was doing ok. It was nice he could pick a few jobs he did for the State Department maintenance team. In this case it was to look at the then new site for the US Embassy to Germany on the pre-WWII site in East Berlin.
On those trips I learned how much his family meant to him, and how he protected it in his work decisions. On trips when other men might go out drinking heavy, he struck out on his own and took photos or meet locals. (Yep it was his camera that I borrowed in the 1980s! Canon AF) I learned he turned down a career enhancing assignment when I was in the 10th grade so my sister and I could stay in our current high schools. I also learned how much he loved my Mom. How he frets for her health, does what he thinks she needs, and balances his needs off of that. No marriage is easy, but the love they have for each other after 44 years is pretty impressive.
So what was the most important lesson my Dad gave me? He taught me a traditional American concept of duty to God, family and country. In this way he brought me into adulthood as nobly as he could. He taught me to set the standards of my behavior as high as possible, for his house was to stand with the Lord forever. It is one incredible gift to gain for a lifetime.
P.S. My old Canon Rebel (film version) with the kit lens 35-105mm took this in Berlin circa 1994!