My dad called today, and as usual he went off on one of his old stories. Don't get me wrong. I love his stories, and he has a lot of them. That's pretty much what he's famous for. I prefer his stories over his end-of-the-world "Doomsday Dad" predictions. And that's pretty much your two choices when you talk to him. I definitely like to steer him towards recalling the old days.
Today he was reminiscing about the time his father dropped him, his brother and their friend off to go camping. He was 12, his brother 13, and the other boy about the same age. Their dad didn't drop them off at a campground mind you. He dropped them off at a spot where they would hike into a lake. He even gave them a rubber boat to paddle around. They camped by themselves for 3 nights and 4 days.
Dad said in all those days they never saw another person up where they were.
Of course he looks back now and thinks how dangerous it was to leave them there alone, and all the tragedies that could have, but fortunately didn't befall them. Burns, accidently amputating fingers or limbs with axes, drownings, were just a few of the scenarios he came up with.
My dad's dad was German, and very "Old World". He would sit down to dinner and expect to be served by his wife. She could eat after he had been taken care of. The family consisted of 2 girls and 2 boys, and my grandfather told my grandmother that she could raise the girls, but he would raise the boys. He wanted them to grow up to be MEN, after all!
So this story about the camping is just one of the many stories my dad has about how his dad tried to make a man out of him. Dad said his mother must have been worried sick about them the whole time, but she didn't dare go against anything my grandfather did.
Dad said the reason this event stands out so distinctly for him was because at the end of the four days when his parents arrived to pick them up, they had with them his first pair of glasses.
He says he remembers taking them out of the box and putting them on and he just couldn't believe it! He said he kept putting them down his nose and looking over them, then looking back through them in comparison. It was a memory he'll never forget.
It wasn't until his grown-up years did he look back on the trip as yet another risk his dad took with he and his brother all in the name of making men out of them.