Mom and I had been planning this occasion for weeks, dreaming of the look on Dad’s face when he discovered the surprise.
To make matters really interesting, we made him drive. I kept the directions carefully tucked out of his sight as I instructed him on where to turn. He commented a few times on how long we’d been driving, and asked when we were going to reach this “cool place.”
I was watching Dad’s face the first time he saw the sign reading “Appomattox.” His smile resembled that of a small child who had just been given a new bicycle (but don’t tell him I used that analogy; it’s kind of a sore subject for him.)
My Civil War buff of a father was finally going to visit Appomattox Courthouse – where my mom had been without him. Twice. This was a day to go down in history. Or at least in the guest book at Appomattox Courthouse.
Not much makes me happier than to rejoice in my family’s delight. Sometimes I’m delighted by their delight when they aren’t even around to be delighted. I’ll often find myself smiling and thinking things like, “Lydia would love this.”
That thrill at the thought of their delight is what draws me to the fantasy titles at a bookstore, elicits a smile when Phil Collins comes on the radio, and causes me to stop to look at crazy socks and funky hats. Those aren’t the things that would normally delight me, were it not for the fact that they first delighted another member of my family.
It’s my belief that families should be so intertwined that the victory of one member is the victory of the whole family (and not just because Dad promised we’d get a horse once a certain child was potty-trained). What causes a father to rise to his feet when his son scores the winning shot in a basketball game? It’s because in some inexplicable way, it’s almost as if he himself made that shot.
When Ruth said to Naomi, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay,” she was speaking with the devotion a daughter should have to her mother. Friends come and friends go, but families are forever. So delight with them, and never forget to delight in them.
Dad signed his name in the guest book larger than John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence. And somehow it seemed that Appomattox Courthouse was better the second time around. At least, it was for me…