Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Probably the journey Elise and I took from Charlotte through torrential rain and racetrack traffic along impossibly long I-95 a few weeks ago should be its own post. Or series of posts. The moments and gravity and mood of that trip will stick with us both for a long, long time.
And you helped to get us there – and back.
Response was so heartening for the Go Fund Me campaign. I gambled bill money on the chance to take my girl to Nova Southeastern, to let her have a shot at an ID camp at one of her dream schools.
We set the GPS south and totally gave them hell, despite the cold Elise caught along the way.
I’ll write about the journey soon, promise.
What I will tell you is that Elise tried out the school and program just as they tried her out. She sat with me and two slices of pizza on Pompano Beach at the end of a long, long day, and told me, “this isn’t for me, dad.” The posh school and sleek program didn’t win her over.
Never mind what their coaches said.
There’s more to the story (there always is) and it has more to do with life and a daughter and a dad hoping to help foster a path to her dreams. After sweeping west around flood-washed Columbia on the way back, Elise took a second visit with Warren Wilson College, in the NC mountains.
My sweet girl – the same one who began her journey in a splashy red jersey for a team called the Raptors, she’s managed to draw an offer to play for the Owls and coach Lydia Vandenbergh. I couldn’t be more proud of this kid!
Now, on to the questions randomly picked for this edition of Go Ask Daddy, a weekly compilation of questions my girls ask me, roughly in the time between sunrise and that hour they sneak their devices into bed with them.
1. Is Mick Jagger still alive?
The Rolling Stones front man is alive and kicking, lovey.
It says so, at deadoralive.com.
He’s 72, the same age as actress Linda Evans (who shares my birthday), Barry Manilow and Robert De Niro. Rock star age is often closer to dog years than people years, but some rockers, including Jagger and indestructible Keith Richards, keep on rocking. (Richards is only 71. Only!)
Dude doesn’t stop moving, though, and that I’m sure adds to his longevity. The Rolling Stones are legendary as rockers, but it’s the blues and soul influence I love, especially in my favorite Stones song.
2. Why don’t they have an E in grades?
Kid, if they did, I coulda been … well, I might have upgraded to average in school.
Extra letter grades might have kept me from a spot on the dean’s list. The dean’s shit list, that is.
Some do. Mine didn’t. The only courses I earned an A in in college? English.
F stands for Fail, and it just so happens it’s in proximity to the four passing grades.
Mount Holyoke (Mass.) College debuted a system similar to what The Man tried to hold me down in when I was in school:*
- A: Excellent, 95-100%
- B: Good, 85-94%
- C: Fair, 76-84%
- D: Barely passed, 75%
- E: Failed, below 75%
*-as if the man slept in for most of his 8 a.m. classes and prioritized the school newspaper over homework like I did.
3. Can you burn dirt?
Not unless it’s loaded with combustibles.
Ever considered the makeup of dirt, the very glue that holds little boys (and my car) together? Quartz and other oxides don’t burn. They’re in dirt’s composition. Dead plants, living and dead organisms, and dung also make up dirt.
(We told you not to eat it.) These elements won’t burn unless they’re dry.
Mostly, dirt’s percentage of water keeps it from burning. This is why we cover camp fires with dirt to put them out. And why Luke Skywalker’s house didn’t burn in the original Star Wars.
4. What do hamsters look like?
This one has some dust on it.
This must have been before the days Grace campaigned for a hamster. When she set a goal and a budget, promised to clean litter boxes and unload dishwashers and care for pretend hamsters to demonstrate responsibility and hamster-loving tendencies.
(I rooted for her. I really did. But ultimately, the objectives remained unattained.)
Hamsters are peculiar, if you can find them. Usually, they’re burrowed deep in their bedding, not unlike your big sisters on soccer-free Saturday mornings.
Their beady eyes are dark as daddy’s, and their cheeks resemble mine when the restaurant manager announces the buffet will close in 15 minutes.
They’re a little bearish, in a Darren Sproles kind of way.
5. Why do people have to die before people listen?
Oh love. Such a loaded question.
I might have devoted a post to this one. I can’t remember the context.
People have to die before people listen for many reasons.
We think we know it all.
We don’t realize the gravity of the situation.
Sometimes, lesson can’t be told – they must be learned.
We see it every time there’s a car swept up in a flooded street or another cancer death from smoking or texting and driving and you know what? Sometimes that doesn’t even work, does it?
So, girls, let’s make sure *we* listen. I’ll fasten my seatbelt and take my fish oil and go easy on the fried fish. You girls eat well and be picky about the cars you get into with friends and always pass when a joint is passed around in your presence.
I’ll check my blood sugar daily and relax and drink more water. You make sure you talk with someone – a friend, your mom or me, a therapist – when the world gets tough to bear.
You floss and get checkups and don’t ever forget to retreat to the places that replenish you. Be love and give love and love what you are and what you give.
And always remember that if you do all that, or some of it, or none of it, you can count on one thing.