Rudi (bless her) linked me to an amazing H50 McDanno fic, and it brought up a LOT of feelings and memories.
In the fic, Steve wants to show Danny the places that bring up good memories for him from his past. It’s happened in canon too, and I hadn’t thought about it when it showed up on the show. In reading the fic, however, it got me to thinking about my childhood and similar memories.
I really don’t have any that are tied to places, like Steve’s are. Sure, Dad took me places and we did things together, but outside of the requisite trips to Disney World, they were nearly always places that he wanted to go, and nearly always things that he wanted to do.
- Fishing – He loved fishing. He loved to take me fishing, but it wasn’t the bonding experience that you think of when you think of a father and child fishing together. There were no quiet conversations about what was going on in our lives, or really any attempt to talk if we weren’t with a guide. It was Dad fishing and him teaching me to fish, and me not doing well at it. He kept taking me, and we had some interesting trips together while bass fishing in Florida or steelhead fishing on Salmon River, but it was mostly getting up ungodly early, Dad fishing and chatting with our guide, and me not doing that well at it. Did I enjoy fishing when we caught things? I did. Would I ever go fishing again? Not on my own; it’s not all that fun for me.
- Softball – I never once expressed an interest, and barely knew how to play when Dad signed nine-year-old me up for little league. During the five years I played, he alternately coached and managed our team. I wasn’t good at it; no really, I played right field a LOT. I never felt close to anyone on the team (there were VERY close friend-groups on the team, and I was a shy kid that wasn’t one to try and break into them). I most definitely didn’t contribute to our team’s victories, but Dad loved it, and I guess that he thought I loved it too. I liked that he didn’t foster a WIN OR DIE attitude on our team, and good sportsmanship was held above all. We didn’t razz the other team if we won, and if we lost, we’d do better next time. When all was said and done, however, I never played sports competitively after I turned thirteen.
- Nature – This is something that I did learn to love with him, and I cherished our nature hikes at various parks around Bucks County and on vacations. I may not remember if we caught anything on one fishing trip or another, but I still remember seeing my first wild bald eagle, and an alligator, during one of our fishing trips in Florida. I remember seeing a moose, a coyote, and a pika during a trip to Montana. I learned how to identify hawks and eagles and ducks and other birds and wildlife, and I think of him every time I see a deer or a bird of prey, or wave to the bald eagle(s) I see on the way to work in the morning.
I was glad to see him happy whenever we did these things. I’m glad to see (via Facebook connections) that others’ lives were touched by his presence and encouragement either at fishing or softball or nature.
But that’s not to say we didn’t bond! My happiest memories with Dad didn’t involve going anywhere but the couch in the den, where we journeyed to new worlds together. Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The A-Team, Friday the 13th: the Series…these are the “places” that make me think of Dad. We watched 1776 every Fourth of July. He took me to my first Star Trek convention, and several more around the Philly and southeast PA area.
We bonded through fandom.
He would tell me about new shows that I think I’d like all the time, and a good 90% of the time he’d be right. When I was going through my Dad’s stuff after his death, I saw that he still had a copy of an X-Files fanzine where one of my fics was published.
So I may never take someone fishing or to a ball game, or on a nature hike (but I’ll point out every hawk I see whenever we’re out together). But if I want to show them a movie or a TV show? It’s like Steve taking Danny on a six-mile hike to show him petroglyphs and a gorgeous view.
Places don’t always have to be places.