Many years ago, my dad took a tour of Ireland and was grousing to me after he got back that they rushed him through stuff he wanted to explore, but made him stay too long at other places.
I told him, “Next time, you pay me and I’ll be your guide.” I was joking, but a couple weeks later he called me and said he’d pay my way if I’d plan his next trip and go with him.
Um … okay! I didn’t realize it until that moment, but planning a trip on somebody else’s dime was my nirvana.
This was loooong before the internet put everything at your fingertips, so I went to the library and checked out all the Irish travel books. I sent away for a book listing all the bed-and-breakfasts, inns, and hotels on the island. I interviewed Dad about where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do.
And in October of 1997 we went.
It was a glorious trip. Dad was 67, hale and hearty. I was 36, pale and smarty, so I let him drive. We had an absolute ball. Started in Dublin where we stayed a few days, then rented a car and meandered around the southern half of the country until we got to Shannon.
When my husband and I were in college, we lived in England and my dad was so impressed that we traveled all over and never had advance reservations anywhere. He wanted to do that, have the B&B experience with innkeepers instead of a stuffy old hotel. So we’d roll into the town we wanted to stay in and I’d park him at the pub with a Guinness. He’d chat up the locals and I’d go find us rooms. I’d come back in ten minutes or so to find my right proper pour of Guinness waiting for me. He’d ask if I found a place. I’d point to a nearby house and he’d marvel at my prowess.
After we came home, I put together a calendar for him with some of the goofier pictures I’d collected.
I stumbled on my copy recently and it made me laugh, so I wanted to make sure to preserve it here. In 1997 there were none of the slick graphics programs we have now, so I fired up my Mac Classic and did a cut-and-paste job. I used stickers and colored paper for some spot color, and placed the finished pages on our fancy new color copier at our print shop. On the calendar days, I filled in the birthdays and anniversaries for Dad’s kids and grandkids.
I had fun making it and I know Dad got a kick out of it.