He not only taught history in our high school for years, he spent his summers carting us around to battle sites and monuments, each one more painfully boring than the last.
My big brother and I endured vacations on end, dyyyyying in the back of the car with no electronics or (wait for it) cell phones.
I'll never forget how when we'd finally arrive, dad would jump out as though we'd found a pot of gold, then marvel at vast fields of varying shades of green, beholding their glory with visions of the North and South, combusting at that very spot.
"Yes, Hon. Can you see it? Can you see what happened here? The Confederates came in from this side, while the Union came from over there..."
"Yeah, um, Dad? It's grass. It's still a lot of grass, like the last place. You think maybe we could go to Disney World next summer like our normal friends?"
He'd have none of that. I spent my years growing up at pretty much every historical sight from the Liberty Bell to Gettysburg.
You can imagine then, when I met my husband. I learned he had gone to the Air Force Academy but didn't associate that with a preference towards miserable summers. He was the cutest and smartest thing I'd ever seen...but then...he dropped the bomb.
"I was a history major."
"I'm sorry, what?"
I had to stop myself from screaming for the hills. How could this dream come true come equipped with a potential nightmare?
Amidst my fears, we were married and didn't see one single historical site on our honeymoon.
It was a good sign.
Years and four kids later, we decided to take a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia at Christmastime. It's unbelievably gorgeous this time of year despite the fact that it was one of my stomping grounds growing up - no kidding, we legitimately had a family Thanksgiving gathering there, feasting with our cousins not on turkey and mashed potatoes, but picking at unfamiliar foods from hundreds of years ago.
Neverminding that, Adam and I walked through the streets, pointing out features of the days of old. Adam sprinkled in history lessons of our forefathers while I marveled at period dresses and clothes.
Covering my mouth, I gasped as Adam let out a chuckle at how much I sounded like my dad. It was as though he was right there, walking just beside us.
Sitting with his Beautiful wife, was none other than Newt Gingrich. Adam stopped cold and grabbed my arm. "Are you seeing this? Newt Gingrich is sitting right there. He's right there!"
He and his wife were there for a book signing, but I think in my husband's eyes, they were only there to exist with the unicorns and rainbows dancing above their heads.
I think his words exactly were, "If Brad Pitt were five feet in front of you, would you not be freaking out right now?"
When he put it that way, I understood.
Remembering we had four kids squirming to go to the bathroom, we walked by only to find the line to meet Newt Gingrich was closing.
"Go. Buy his book and get in line. You'll kick yourself if you don't."
"Mom, I gotta go!" The pull of my coat stopped the discussion short as Adam questioned whether to wait at the end of in the eternal line or get in and out of the store with four relieved kids.
"GO. I have them, just go! They might not even let you in by now."
They did. Adam stood in line like a kid in a candy store and finally had his turn. We joined him and I was pleasantly surprised at how tremendously gracious and fantastic Newt Gingrich and his fabulous wife both were. As wonderful as they could've been and very conversational, they also allowed us to snap a few shots before we left.
The kids were happy. My history loving husband was beyond happy and dare I say it, a trip that had nothing to do with rides or cotton candy was one of the best times we'd ever had. There just might be something to this history thing after all.
Thanks for all the adventures, Dad.