"Dad, I want to go with you!" I called , running after my father down the driveway.
He stopped and waited for me, and i ran around the side of his big blue pickup and jumped into the passengers seat. Dad got in and started the engine.
"Why do you always insist on coming with me?" he asked, pulling out of the driveway.
"Because I like to see all the animals you work with." i said, smiling.
"Did you empty the dishwasher?" he asked.
"...no?" I said quietly. Dad sighed, and kept driving.
When we got to my Dad's work, I hurriedly jumped out of the truck and ran inside the brick building. Charlene was sitting behind the desk, typing on her computer. When she saw me she smiled.
"Hey Mitch." she said.
"Hey." I replied.
Everyone at my Dad's work knew me- Ive been coming to work with my dad since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I'm 17 now, so that would make it 13 years Ive known Charlene and the rest of the staff here at Oregon State Marine Research.
Then my dad walked in behind me, and pushed me down the hall towards his 'office'.
At the end of the hall, we entered a small room with a counter, and sink, a fridge, and 3 lockers in it.
One locker was for Dad's personal stuff because it had a lock on it- and the other 2 were for clothes and swimsuits. My swimsuit was kept in one of the lockers because I always came to work with dad.
I grabbed my swimsuit and went into the staff bathroom and changed, then put my clothes in the open locker while dad changed into his wet suit.
Then I followed dad out the back door and to the holding pens. the outside of his work was HUGE. Since my dad was CEO of the place- he ordered that all of the animal holding pools be doubled in size for the interest of the animal. My dad studied and researched all sorts of animals here. Penguins, sea lions, dolphins, pelicans, porpises, fish, crabs, and small sharks.
Thats why I loved coming to work with my dad, because I got to swim with some of the animals and help my dad feed them and stuff. i mean, its not everyday you get to swim with a dolphin right?
The first thing we did was go around and feed all the animals. Then, we started at the sea lion tank so dad could give them some shots. While he did so- I jumped in the water and played swim tag with Oscar. he was the dominant male in his pool. He was the biggest and the oldest. Not to mention the fastest. Everytime I thought i was getting away- he would surface right in front of me and bark until I gave up.
"Michelle, come here and give this fish to Oscar- it has medicine in it." my dad said.
I swam over to the dock and took the fish. Then turned in the water and tossed it into the air. Oscar jumped right out of the water and swallowed it whole.
"Are you gonna stay here while i check on Lyla and her baby?" he asked.
He knew I would say no. Lyla was a bottlenose dolphin- and she had a baby about a month ago. My dad gave the the privilage of naming him- and I called him Jack.
Dad didnt let me swim with Lyla and Jack- because you never know what could happen with a mother and her baby. So I sat on the dock beside my dad while he gave them both fish with vitamins in them.
At the end of the day, we went home and watched tv like we usually do. And thats when Dad got a call from his friend. And from the tone my dad was using, it wasnt a happy conversation...