Friday morning I walked off my on-time flight and zipped through the brand new, shiny Provo airport. I hopped in my car in the free parking lot and zipped off, amazed at how smoothly it all went.
The reason I was back in Provo was that my eldest son called me the other day and invited me to attend his ward’s Father & Sons outing with him and his boys. I’m pretty sure I accepted the invite before he completed making it.
I had a little bit of time to kill before I went to my other son’s house to pick up some gear, so I decided to head up to BYU to buy some cinnamon bears and a new BYU T-shirt.
As I drove onto campus it looked so busy and pretty, and all those memories and the accompanying nostalgia came flooding back.
It was so strong that I texted my wife (who was in Monticello with our daughter and her family) and said “I’m weirdly happy.”
After a few minutes of looking I found a place to park. Turns out BYU was smack dab in the middle of freshman orientation. The campus was flooded with fresh-faced young people, excited about the next step in their lives. They glowed.
I know that not everyone is a BYU fan, but to many of us who attended there, it holds a special place in our hearts, especially at this time of year. My parents went there, three of my kids went there, my wife and I both went there. I love the feeling of legacy that exudes from the Institution – regardless of whatever problems it might go through.
Then I was up to Lehi to meet up with my son and his two sons to load up the truck and head for the Bountiful Peak campground. (yes, it’s right behind Bountiful where I grew up.)
Playing with my two grandsons, cooking hotdogs over the fire, making s’more, sleeping in a tent together, waking up at two in the morning and not going back to sleep until five – it was a classic Father & Sons.
My son, who lives In Provo, made it up there too. That made for half of my sons and half of my grandsons, all together in one tent, listening to me snore.
In the morning, I jumped in and helped cook and clean up breakfast. (Because that’s how I’m wired.) At one point I was standing off to the side wiping out of cast iron skillet and I looked over and saw my son working and his two little boys running around. I had the most vivid flashback of MY father in that exact same situation – cleaning up breakfast and watching me and my boys. I had to fight back the tears.
We broke camp, and on the way home we drove by the house I grew up in and showed it to my grandsons. On our way home We met up with my bonus daughter and granddaughter at In-n-Out and had lunch. It was a very nostalgic day, and I think that’s good for me every once in a while.
We have a legacy of Father & Son’s camp outs in my family. My dad faithfully took me and my brothers. I took my sons. (I believe 21 consecutive years.) To watch my son continue that legacy with his sons – and to be a part of it – was a beautiful thing.
We have to acknowledge that not all traditions deserve to perpetuated. Sometimes good traditions are not continued, and it can be sorrowful to the previous generation.
But when a worthy tradition is perpetuated it brings joy. This particular weekend brought joy to three generations of fathers and sons And especially to one old man who considers himself rather Tevye-like.
This morning I’m back in Monticello, picking up my sweet wife who just spent a week being grandma to another one of her wonderful grandsons.
I wasn’t even expecting to write a post this weekend, because we’re on the road. But I felt I needed to write this, so this is officially the first post I’ve fully composed and posted on my phone. (Those of you who find joy in finding other peoples errors, will probably have a field day with this.)
Anyway, it was a perfect weekend and I would feel ungrateful if I didn’t share it with you, my friends.
Last, but not least, here is Owen with a giant worm he found: