OK how did I become the guy that we all knew growing up and used to cringe when we had to ask that big father favor! Or Dad's blessing? How did I become that guy? When the hell did that happen? I guess I became my father when my kids hit their junior and senior year in High School. Maybe even before.
All I know is, I am that guy today. I have become my father.
So when my son Max asked me last week if it would be OK if he could go to Puerto Rico during the holiday break from college, I had to give him an answer. And just so you know it's not just me making these life changing decisions, my wife was involved as well. Though it ultimately comes back to me for the final answer. So I had to stop and ponder the possibilities.
My son and his friend Jesse want to go on a surf trip to the tropics together?
Unsupervised and basically on their own. This would be his first surf trip without me. That in itself was a bitter pill to swallow. Wow, little Mackey V is all grown up. When the hell did that happen? I'm thinking it's that rite of passage that all surfers must face at some point in their lives. That first Surf Trip without Mom and Dad. Or in my case, the first Surf Trip without me. Dad. The surf photographer. The movie maker. The surfer.
I had visions of us traveling to surf destinations for many years together.
And look I know that we will travel again. But that first trip with just you and your buds...that's special. Of course as a parent you tend to worry. I worry about all three of my kids. It comes with the parent title. It's right there in the contract.
"As a Parent, You Will Worry About Your Kids, The Rest Of Your Life. Sign here." And man is that ever true. But we all sign it.
I thought about what I was doing at his age.
A Marine Grunt, strung out along the DMZ, humping those godforsaken hills, and sloshing through rice paddies, in 118 degree humid air temps, while slugging it out with the formidable North Vietnamese Army. Gee think my parents were worried? Good Lord, I can't imagine what that must of been like for them. There are plenty of parents my age dealing with that scenario today. Their kids in combat in Afghanistan. I'm lucky that I don't have that to think about everyday.
Still, lots can happen on a surf trip.
And I know he's smart enough to stay away from trouble, there's always that 10 percent that can get you hurt. But we all know what's out there. Lots of things can jump up and bite you. And I'm speaking about life in general. But when you travel to other countries, well there's a whole different set of rules. And you need to be aware of your surroundings.
The basic avoiding petty thievery for instance. You have to be street smart.
If you leave your keys, wallets, cell phones out in the open, guess what? Some one is gonna steal it. Guaranteed. Hell they will steal that stuff here in New Hampshire if you don't take the proper precautions. This past fall we had a series of stolen items taken from surfers who actually locked their vehicles. So there's that element. And of course, there's the basic lowlife of criminals in general. Hard drugs. Alcohol. It's all there. Oh yea, prostitution. It's all out there. Waiting on the "boot to life" tourists from the Mainland and beyond.
And believe me, they can see you coming a mile away.
That pasty white skinned sunburn is the first give-away. Cause you know he and Jesse are going to forget about applying sun screen. They will be so amped to hit the surf they will forget everything. Locking the vehicle. Hiding your belongings. And putting on sun screen. It's all part of that first surf trip though. I just want them to have fun and get some good waves while not getting in any trouble.
But getting back to me being my father. Guess what? My dad would of said yes too. Hell he said yes to me joining the Marines during the height of the war. And he said gave me his blessing every other time I came to him. He loved me enough to know that I would not risk life or limb and cause he and my mother any grief. I'm hoping Mackey does the same next week.
I do know this. He better be sending me some pics. Or he will really be in trouble.
So here we are at the end of 2011. Lots of things happened this year. And Thank God it was mostly good. There were a few bad things here and there but for the most part it was all good. There were great snow conditions in the Mountains. God all my friends were scoring some insane snow days last winter and into the Spring. There were great days in the water too. I mean hello? I know I was out there everyday.
I spent a lot of time going through each week from last year and put together a pretty comprehensive compilation of what I feel are some of the best pics from last year. I know that 2011 will always be a special year for me. I connected with so many old and dear friends from my past and I made so many new friends as well. I guess that Facebook thing is going to be around for a while.
Now there's a stock to invest in.
I do want to thank all of the SUPER talented Photographers and videographers who contribute so many amazing images week after week. This blog would be nothing without them. I also want to thank the sponsors on this Blog. Again, without them this site would not exist. And I can't stress this enough. Each and every business in that right hand column is either run by or is owned by one of us. A SURFER. Please if you are ever in the need of any of the services provided here on this blog PLEASE get in touch with them. I love the thought of Surfers doing Business with Surfers. That to me is the perfect business world.
And finally, I want to thank you. The loyal and faithful readers of this weekly blog.
I am always blown away by the numbers of people who tune into this weekly babble every week. According to Google Analytics, as of today, it's over 35,000 weekly readers in 108 different countries. I am both humbled and thankful.
I truly love you all for keeping this blog as part of your weekly routine.
I hope I can continue to keep up with the content and talent that is always showing up in my inbox. And I hope I can entertain you all enough throughout the year without upsetting too many of you. But if I do offend a few here and there...I'm doing it to raise a smile, or to get you think about that particular
subject. Unless it's you guys in IRAN who have been monitoring me for the last year or so, in which case, give me a break. Your president is a nut job loser.
Be serious, that guy's a freaking weasel. A muskrat. Ha! Want some cheese
little Muskrat face...please. You guys are lucky the rest of the world has not bitch slapped your asses. Don't hold your breath whatever you do.
But everyone else out there. I thank you and welcome you each and every week.
May you all share the peace of our water world with your families this holiday season. And may you all have a safe, and healthy New Year.