Shared Stories: Side by Side

Nothing is quite like a road trip, and Steve Zaragoza recounts a treasured memory of one with his father. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program.  Curated by Carol Kearns.

By Steve Zaragoza
About midyear 1977 my dad decided to change jobs and move to Seattle in the area of Puyallup Valley and then later move to the small town of Milton.

When I would fly in to visit, Dad would pick me up at SEA-TAC airport at baggage pickup. I would usually fly up once or twice a year if time permitted. 

Our first stop would always be Pike Market Place. Sometimes we would have breakfast at Cutter’s Restaurant and we would each have a shot of Bailey’s as we looked out to the harbor and talked about grandkids and family.

Next was getting two loaves of sourdough bread, salami, cheese, beer, and wine, then head home where the party would start. We enjoyed these excursions several times a year when I came to visit.

Around summer of 2009 I had called my dad and asked what plans he had. We conversed and decided that I would fly to Seattle and stay a few days, then we would drive back to LA together.

When it was time for us to leave Seattle we packed the car in early morning and got ourselves comfortable. I was driving, Dad at shotgun and ready to go.

We decided to use mountain routes and the first stop is Mount St. Helen’s, at the top, Vista Point View.  Before the eruption the view was spectacular.  But then looking at the destruction, Mother Nature had carved a beauty of her own to reshape a new view to make a comeback.
We next crossed the Columbia River, very powerful, and we went into Hood City, also passing Mount Hood.  Just entering Bend, I noticed an RV dealership, and cruising past I saw an RV that I might like.  

I had said, “That’s what I want. Something small and light.”

My dad struggled with hearing loss, and his response was, “Yes, I don’t want to eat too much either.” I started laughing. It floored me, with what he said.

My dad laughed also and said, “What is it?” I told him I was talking about trailers, not food. He smiled and laughed also.

It’s time for new batteries for his hearing aid, I guess.

We spent the night in Bend. Next morning we headed to Crater Lake but didn’t see much because of the fog.

Leaving Oregon and passing Mt. Shasta we ended up in Redding.  After early dinner we got a motel room. I was able to back up the car to the room door.

Next morning Dad said, “I’ll take the car and get ice from the motel machine.”  About 30 minutes later he came back. I had grabbed some luggage to load but didn’t find the car. It was about five stalls down.    

I asked Dad why the car was so far down. He said, “That’s not the half of it.”

When he backed the car to the door, got out, and went into the room, it was empty.  No one was there and he was wondering where I went.  It was the wrong room!

There was plenty of laughter.  As we traveled on towards home onto Hwy 395, we stopped at places we both knew.

As I travel on, I now miss talking, laughing, and reminiscing about the past and present times. Miss you, Dad.