Monday, October 11, 2004

Happy Birthday, Dad

My dad just turned 70 this year, and so my sister and I wanted to get him something special for his birthday. The problem is that, like his son, if my dad wants something, he buys it. So finding something that my dad wants but hasn't bought is impossible -- you have to find something my dad doesn't know he wants yet. An exercise in mind-reading, so to speak.

This year, my sister had a flash of genius, and managed to find a place in the U.S. where you can get a ride in a real WWII tank. Only problem is that it's in Minnesota. Fortunately, it turns out that my parents, on one of their rambling U.S. tours, swung through Minnesota, so my dad got a tank ride for his birthday.

Very cool, I must say.

Unfortunately, nothing ever goes as planned. While the T-34 was one of the best-designed tanks of WWII, it is still a 60-year old piece of equipment, from an era where you were expected to tear down engines on a yearly basis. So, on the day of the ride, the tank wouldn't start.

Fortunately, the ride was only half the attraction for the day, the other half being allowed to shoot a variety of fully-automatic weapons, including an Uzi, an M-16, and an MP-40. I think he was happy with the day even without the ride in the tank.

And I'm wondering if I need to take a little field trip myself.

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