On September 20, my dad would have been 85 years old. As you all know, my dad passed away back on February 17. His passing was the start of what has been a very rough year for our family. Yet, his passing is also one of celebration, for an amazing life he had, the lives he touched and for the inner child that very few saw. However, I saw that side and we connected on many things, one of which was Star Trek.
My dad really was a Trekkie at heart. Whenever he would hear news about William Shatner or read an article about Leonard Nimoy, he would call me. Most of the time, it was something I already knew but I never let on. God, how I miss those random calls. To most people, my dad was a business man or a deacon. They can never imagine him ever going to a Star Trek convention but he did. Now, on the surface he attended because he loved spending the day with me after so many years of us disagreeing on meaningless topics like religion and money. I say meaningless because in the end, those arguments never resolved anything and as we both grew older and wiser, the points we were trying to make faded away. But Star Trek was always the one constant that kept us connected.
In 1998, my dad and I attended our first Trek Expo in Tulsa. We were both excited to see William Shatner in person. He was funny and entertaining but no autographs that year as the money tree needed a few more branches. We would attend together again a couple of years later with my son but it was the last four years, 2009 – 2012, that meant the most. We had the routine down to an art. I would go on Friday afternoon by myself, get some autographs and a lay of the land. Then, we’d both return on Saturday after having lunch together somewhere close by. Sadly, it was the only time of the year we’d ever do that due to distance and a crazy schedule on my part. I regret that but cherish those trips.
My dad would always get into Trek Expo for free because he proudly wore his Marine Corps hat and veterans were admitted for free. My dad always loved seeing the old stars he remembered, like Frank Gorshin, Julie Newmar and especially Anne Francis. He loved when Leonard Nimoy came back and Shatner too. When the “old guys” hit the stage, Dad loved hearing their stories. He loved seeing all of the stuff and it was fun to see him get shocked at some of the costumes, the slave girl Leia in particular. And I fondly remember embarrassing him when Chase Masterson and I were innocently flirting with each other. I turned around and he was gone, shaking his head with a smile on his face.
The last year we attended was also the last year for Trek Expo. The organizer died in 2011 and by 2012, the event had moved to a small hotel with no room and hardly any vendors or attendance. The following year, the event was canceled and probably for the best. My Mom and Dad had moved back to Kansas, making Dad’s attendance logistically impossible.
I still love attending conventions but I’d give anything for a trip back to a Trek Expo with my dad. It was a time for us to just to be kids, something my Dad never did very often. Whether it was playing on the ground with my Mego action figures, listening to the latest Power Records selection or watching Star Trek on a Saturday afternoon, my Dad was the coolest. He taught me to be a great father. I miss you Dad!