Summer 2001. I had just turned 13 and was in Disney World for the second time that summer when I truly realized just how much my Dad loved my mom. My mom was 6-7 months pregnant, but never complained during the entire trip... well just once.
With my mom pregnant, my dad was mostly (and gladly) running around with us from ride to ride. Early on, one particular day after bouncing around on 4-5 rides, it started to rain a little bit, and we returned to meet up with my mom who was resting outside in a cafe. When we came back laughing and telling her about the rides we went on, my dad could quickly tell something was wrong. My mom's a saint- which is probably why she's got such a poor poker face. My dad pressed her on what was wrong and she finally caved. She explained that she was sitting under an awning at the cafe, and during the light rain, an elderly couple moved from an uncovered area next to her. Which normally wouldn't be a problem, except they were smoking. She also made out a German accent. She asked them to stop they looked at her blankly. My mom was forced to move to an uncovered area and sit in the rain. The one part I never understood was that husband was in a motorized scooter. I'm amazed that being old, and not so mobile, couldn't stop him from smoking.
Just as the story finished my dad turned to us and said, "Gentleman, we're on the lookout for an old German man in a motorized scooter." In a park of probably 20,000 people, I somehow spotted someone to that description in about 15 minutes. (Although now that I think about it, the fact that he was really old, and limited to 3 mph on a motorized scooter probably helped our chances of finding him. Also, the lazy slob had moved about 25 feet to another covered cafe). When I asked my mom if it was him, she swore it wasn't. By swear, I mean said no, and immediately covered her face to try not to laugh and walked away...again my mom is a HORRIBLE poker player. My dad grabbed us again and laid out the plan. I wasn't sure exactly what he had up his sleeve, and at that point in my life I considered myself a pretty big chop buster and probably had some of my own ideas on what to do, but I clearly wasn't the best point guard in this kind of situation. I knew to get my dad the ball and get out of the way.
My part was pretty simple, "Go get the biggest drink you can find." When I came back, he had already told my brothers what to do, so when I handed him the soda it was almost like a baton pass in a medley race. He gave it to my brother, Don, 11, and said, "go". We moved about 10 feet back and watched. I really had no idea what to expect. Off ran Brian, the younger of my brothers, the 10 year old brother scurried towards the old couple, with Don chasing about 5 feet behind. Brian did two circles around the general area of the couple before he stopped dead in front of the old guy in the scooter. He started dancing in place and taunting Don that he couldn't catch him. Just then he dove out of the way, and my brother Don (fresh off a Little League all star season as a pitcher) wound up and tossed all 48 ounces of that overpriced un-iced sticky soda towards this old guy. He connected with every ounce. To complete the scheme, Brian turned around and said, "I'm sorry, I'll get some napkins," pretended like he cared, and then high tailed it out of there with Don laughing back toward us. We high-fived for like like 20 minutes straight on our way to the next rides, while my mom tried to pretend like she was wasn't laughing just as hard.
To my dad... who has gone great lengths to show his love for his family, but most of all my mom. Even if those lengths are employing your three sons to force an elderly man to sit in sticky soda drenched clothes in Florida heat at 10am, because he upset his wife. Never change Dad... Happy 60th.