June 13th, 2009


Family Moments

I don't think the highlights of family vacations are the locales visited at all. It's the family parts of the vacation that count.

We visited the Hocking Hills of Ohio this weekend, hiking the various sites of interest: Old Man's Cave, Ash Cave, and Cedar Falls. Here's what I'll be remembering.

Story the first: Graham at Old Man's Cave.

"Where's the old man?"

When explained that there was no old man, it was just the name of the cave.

"Dad, when you're one hundred, you can live here and be the Old Man."

Story the second: Eli on the second day.

"We haven't played Wii for 24 hours and I didn't even notice!"

Story the third: Graham as we gathered sticks to toast marshmallows

"Careful of sparklers!"


"Careful of sparklers!"

"What's a sparkler?"

"If you grab a piece of wood you might get a sparkler in your finger."

Story the fourth: Eli and Dad around the fire

"Dad, did you and mom go to grade school together?"

"Uh, no. Your mom grew up in New Jersey and I grew up in Ohio."

"Where did you meet?"

"In college."

"Oh... Were you on the football team and was she a cheerleader?"

"Er... no."


Aunt Mikey

My Aunt Mikey passed away last night. We've known it was coming for the past week; she'd suffered a brain stem stroke last Friday. Uncle George when I talked to him before our trip seemed to be holding up well, sad, yet pragmatic about what was happening.

We talked about my books on the phone. I told him again that my writing career was due to him and Mikey. One summer for my birthday - I was 12 I think - they had bought me two books: Heinlein's Have Spacesuit, Will Travel and The Rolling Stones. I couldn't tell you a thing about the latter, but the first fired my imagination and made me think about things I hadn't thought about before. Kip was solving problems! With a slide rule. I was mesmerized. That one book did more to shape my future as an engineer and as a science fiction writer than any other thing in the universe.

Suddenly, because of Uncle George and Aunt Mikey, instead of being a listless youth, I had a passion. Have imagination, will travel!

I know Uncle George had read my books, but I don't know if Aunt Mikey did. I'll have to ask at the funeral on Tuesday. I hope she did. I hope she saw what she had started.

It's clear now to whom my next book will be dedicated.