One of the fun memories I have from when I was very young is actually a series of memories—trips downtown with my dad. We lived in a suburban area away from the city, and every now and again, Dad needed to travel into town to take care of business. This was before the days of internet banking and other conveniences. "Taking care of business" often meant—gasp!—actually talking with people face to face. Dad was a school teacher and had summers off, so that's when he'd take me into the Big City.
By "Big City," I mean Salt Lake City, which was very small compared to real big cities. But to me, a trip to the tall buildings and crowded streets was a magical experience.
We normally started the day by making a quick stop at the K-Mart deli. We'd pick up a couple hoagie sandwiches to eat later, then get back in the old Ford Falcon and head into town. We'd usually end up parking in one location, then walking to the various businesses. It always seemed like Dad walked way faster than I could, but I did my best to keep up so I wouldn't slow him down. We often stopped by construction sites and watched the men working their heavy equipment. I always thought they put those little observation windows by the sites just for me and Dad to see what they were doing.
Once in a while we'd stop at the big ZCMI Department Store where Dad would buy a bag of honey roasted nuts. Those were my favorite. At some point during the day, we'd find a place to rest and eat the hoagies. By most standards K-Mart hoagies aren't anything to write home about. In fact, they may be the reason K-Mart is going out of business. But I really enjoyed them, even with the flimsy processed cheese they came with.
I would usually be pretty tired by the end of the day. The trip back out to the 'burbs in the non-air conditioned Falcon seemed to take a long time.
I really treasure my memories of those trips. I don't know if Dad realized how important it made me feel to spend the day doing grown-up business with him. One thing I learned is children love doing things with their parents, and I've tried to incorporate that into my own parenting. My kids may think I'm just trying to get them to help me with the yard work so I don't have so much to do myself. That may be partially true. But really, I just want to keep spending time with my family while they're all still close by—and still willing to spend time with me.
Postscript: I wrote this post a little while ago, and in the meantime, the terrible tragedy in Connecticut occurred where twenty innocent young children were killed. Watching something like that unfold just makes all of my memories with my family growing up, and with my family now, even more meaningful.