I spend quite a bit of time thinking about my dad. These thoughts, while occasionally visiting the traumatic, generally gravitate toward the positive. There is no shortage. One such memory is the ultimate hookey deception. For any who have played high school sports, the thought of missing one or two days of practice is absurd. To miss a week is unthinkable. For the outside-the-box thinker, this represents a challenge. For a duo that lived on opposite sides of the box, and well outside of its borders-a mere technicality.
And so it came to pass that in February of 1998 my dad and I concocted a scheme that was so devilish and intricate, it would have put any of Emperor Palpatine's schemes to shame. We plotted to evade the dreary Sacramento weather in February, allow me to miss the conditioning or hell week of baseball, and get a paid vacation. Like the food dehydrators on TV, it was as simple as 1-2-3. Fake pneumonia, pack your bags, and hit the airport. Boom. Done and done.
With one of my dad's tycoon friends eager for a getaway, he solicited my dad's piloting services and instruction for the trip to La Paz Mexico, located on the isthmus that is the tip of the Baha Peninsula. Though dad supported my baseball career, he couldn't resist throwing the line out there. Fiendishly smiling as he suggested in his matter of fact way, "hey Coreman, I'm going to paradise. You wouldn't want to miss this weather and conditioning though...Huh? Oh I'm just gonna go hang out on Jim's yacht in the tropics for a week or so." Like the barracuda, I snapped at the sumptuous bait without looking back.
Apparently, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. As if I were channeling Ferris Bueller, I hunched my posture and wheezed, "I think I feel some pneumonia coming on." My friggin dad rubbed my head and said "that's my boy!"
The story is rather intricate as this was the same plane my dad and I had gotten in an accident in mere months before. I'll save the details for another time.
On the flight to the Mexican border, with my anterior regions tight enough to grind pepper, I was filled with music. The sky beneath and around beckoned my attention to my creator. And my good fortune to be a part, no matter how insignificant, of the drama that is human life, having myriad roles by seemingly limitless actors. And my place in a creation so humbling. And I was just getting warmed up.
Upon arriving in La Paz, I was greeted by the modest architecture and humble ways of a third world getaway. The help came and took us to the boat. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the hundred foot yacht. I would later be overcome with the beauty of the experience. The chef, Alejandro promptly sated our hunger after a long flight with a masterpiece from the galley that made my head spin. The chicken breast surpassed anything I've eaten at Morton's or the Broiler. His Guacamole must have had crack in it, such was its addictive nature. I'd have some and walk away. Then I'd say to myself, looking around guiltily, "Oh, just a little more."
The highlight was the equatorial sky at night. At sea, far from any man made lights, the lights of the night sky shone, like the finest diamonds against the blackest velvet. I was overwhelmed. And at a loss to process the experience. In my young, hormonally imbalanced teenage mind, I soon regretted that I didn't bring any of my high school girlfriends along. Without detailing my twisted fantasies, it's for the better that I went solo.
The trip was predictable after the first day and night. And perfect. The path of least resistance, when in paradise, is the one of greatest pleasure. That was the last trip like that my dad and I took. And no less impacting in its finality.