Linenger's Letters to his Son

January 27, 1997
"Some tips from your Dad

Dear John:

Just received a note from Mommy-- who said you've really been a great little boy lately. Says that you are at the age where you try to mimic everything anyone does. And that you're laughing lots. And everyone thinks you are so cute. Mommy agrees. Me too. You are the best, John.

But the big news was that you had first trip to the corner park. Mommy says that the rocking horse was your favorite, but you also did okay on your first swing ride.

Alright, John. I can help you some on this. Some tips from your Dad.

Never get on a teeter totter with someone bigger that you.

No matter how hard you try, you will never succeed at doing a loop-the-loop on the swing.

For added speed down the slide, find an old waxed potato chip bag lying around (they are always blown against the fence nearby), sit on the bag, and then slide down. After a few times you'll really be moving, and all the girls will hold you in awe.

And talk about speed--your Daddy was really flying today! Whizzed across Isla de Chiloe, the crest of the Andes (three or four of the taller peaks still snowcapped), across Patagonia and out Golfo San Jorge in two minutes flat. Del Fuego in the distance. Clear. Spectacular.

Maybe someday you'll be a geography nut like your father. For now, just make sure you can find your way home from the park.

And John, pay serious attention to those books Mommy always reads you at night. Keep those eyes open--don't go fading off half way through the story like you usually do. If some day you go on a trip like I'm on, you'll be trying to draw on every bit of information, every bit of training, every morsel of practical stuff you've ever learned in your whole life in order to succeed.

Now that I think about it, they don't make waxed potato chip bags anymore. Scratch that idea, John. Maybe it'll be better to start off slowly and savor the ride all the way down...

Love you John. Tell Mommy that Daddy sure was happy to get her note. And that I'm just fine.


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