It was to be an unforgettable daddy-daughter date for a twelve-year-old. For weeks we had made elaborate plans for our big night out in San Francisco.
We had decided to ride the famous trolley cars downtown and shop in some of the fancy stores. Then we would head over to Chinatown for our favorite meal. Afterwards we’d “hit a flick,” as Dad called it, and then go back to the hotel. The night would be topped off with a hot fudge sundae from room service, delivered just in time for the late, late show. The evening would definitely be the highlight of this business trip.
But when his lecture ended prior to our scheduled date, one of Dad’s old college friends greeted him excitedly. “I’ve been wanting to get together since I heard you were our new consultant,” he told Dad. “I can’t believe we haven’t seen each other for—what, ten, fifteen years? How is the family doing?”
As they talked, I suddenly realized just how happy Dad was to see his friend. He had often told me about their college days and the tricks they had played on each other. I could see my trolley car rolling down the tracks without us. I expected the worst.
“Listen, Lois and I would love to take you and your daughter out tonight. We’ll eat down on the wharf and catch up on old times. What do you say?”
I hated seafood. All our plans for a private date seemed insignificant now. I felt betrayed. But as I thought about it, I realized Dad would probably rather be with his good friend than with a twelve-year-old, anyway.
Dad put his arm around his friend affectionately. “Gee, it’s great to see you again. Dinner sounds terrific, but not tonight. Cynthia and I have a special evening planned, don’t we Honey?” He winked at me, and to my astonishment the trolley car came back into view. I couldn’t stop smiling.
“You understand, don’t you? Tell Lois I’ll take a raincheck.”
I couldn’t believe it, and I don’t think his friend could either. We didn’t wait around to find out. In a moment, we were out the door.
“Gosh, thanks Dad.” I swallowed hard. “But are you sure … ?”
“Hey, I wouldn’t miss this for anything. You’d rather have Chinese food anyway, wouldn’t you? Now let’s go catch a trolley car.”