Dad loved The Goonies.
The year it released, he bought a cassette tape and listened to the soundtrack obsessively. He listened to it so much he wore it out by Christmas time, which made choosing a Christmas present that year particularly easy.
“Thank you! I love it! How’d you know?”
“The first song doesn’t change keys every ten seconds.”
He put it in a boombox for us to listen to during Christmas dinner.
The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough is one of the most unusual Christmas carols I have ever sung.
When Dave Grusin released the entire film score in 2010, I bought Dad the CD for Father’s Day. That gift earned me an official “Daughter of the Year” certificate — matted and framed. It hangs in my art studio.
The only baseball card Dad owned is the Lou Gehrig card referenced in that movie. We happened to pass by a baseball card store when we were in search of a new ice cream store, and Dad stopped the car immediately. He returned rather quickly with an enormous smile on his face.
“Just like The Goonies! I got one for you, too!”
It took me a few moments to catch up to speed, but I actually thought it was neat having the same baseball card. He kept it in a hard plastic case and used it as a bookmark for whatever he was currently reading.
But Dad’s passion for The Goonies was best seen at Halloween. Beginning that first year, Dad dressed up as the character “Sloth,” the mostly bald behemoth who is able to lift boulders and rip chains from walls with the greatest of ease. For the next 30 years, Dad Slothed through Halloween.
He’s so weird like that.
Dad was not blessed with the physical stature of a professional football player, as was the person who portrayed Sloth in the film. But he was content with pillows, a Superman t-shirt, red suspenders, a three-cornered pirate hat, and a big smile. Every Halloween, Baby Ruth candy bars were the only candy Dad gave out to trick-or-treaters.
One year, a “mini-Sloth” came and knocked on our door. Dad answered the door and was beyond excited. He invited the boy and his mom inside for sodas and pictures. He gave handfuls upon handfuls of Baby Ruth candy bars to the boy. As the child was leaving, Dad and the boy stood on the front porch and shouted, “Hey, you guys!”
The year the movie came out, Dad tried to convince me to dress up as Chunk.
“Dad, Chunk is not a girl.”
“But we’d make such a good pair! We could even enter in a costume contest or two.”
“No chance. End of discussion.”
I don’t think Dad understood that I did not want to take any chances of being stuck with the nickname Chunk.
I posed for pictures with Sean (along with a few selfies for posterity’s sake), received a free Goonies t-shirt and poster from the museum (Sean signed it), and did an interview for a CBS affiliate station and The Daily Astorian, though I fear I was horribly boring.
Reporter: “What brings you to the Oregon Film Museum today?”
Me: “My dad died.”
Reporter: “I’m sorry to hear about your loss.”
Me: “Thank you. He was 74. He lived a big life. A couple days after he died, I got an envelope in the mail in his handwriting. On the back was a quote from Gandalf about sharing in an adventure, and inside was clue number one. I figured it out, went to Texas, and now here I am.”
Reporter: “Where else have you been so far?”
Me: “To the Dr Pepper Museum and a Red Sox game. I had to sit in the Green Monster seats.”
Reporter: “Did you enjoy the game?”
Me: “It was fine. I bought a pair of lucky socks, but I think Dad would have wanted me to keep score.”
Reporter: “Is anyone traveling with you?”
Me: “My dog, Fagan. He’s a pretty good travel companion. Doesn’t talk too much, but he makes his presence known.”
Reporter: “Do you know how many clues there are in total?”
Reporter: “Do you have any idea how this is going to end?”
Me: “If you knew my dad, you’d know the answer to that question. I’ve got an equal chance guessing lottery numbers.”
Reporter: “What’s been the best part of your adventure so far?”
Me: “The view from Loveland Pass was amazing. I already did a painting of it, but I forgot to post it on my blog. I left it at the hotel for the cleaning crew.”
Reporter: “Do you know where you’re going next?”
Me: “I haven’t received the clue yet.”
Reporter: “Can we film you opening it?”
Me: “I would prefer you didn’t.”
Reporter: “Why do you think your dad did this?”
Me: “Dad craved adventure with every single breath. He hoped that if he took me on enough adventures, the desire would be caught. I think this scavenger hunt is his last effort.”
Reporter: “So you’re an adventurer?”
Me: “Not really. I’m a pretty big fan of home.”
Claire took me on a short tour of the museum. I posed for a selfie next to the cardboard cutout of Sloth and spotted the original Lou Gehrig baseball card underneath Chester Copperpot’s wallet and black and white identification card. She took me to her office, which was small and tastefully decorated in head shots and signatures of a number of actors and actresses who had performed at some place across the state. She sat down behind her desk and pulled out a USPS priority mail envelope from one of its drawers.
“Sorry about all that,” she said, handing me the envelope. “I had no idea you’d be coming here today.”
“No apologies necessary. Dad would think all of this is fantastic. He’d soak it up.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, Astoria’s not that big of a place. All the hotels in the area have been booked for weeks. If you need a place to stay, I’ve got a guest bedroom. Fagan’s more than welcome, too. I’ve got a good backyard for dogs. I imagine you’d like a moment by yourself to think and open that, too.”
I appreciated her generosity as well as the moment to gather my thoughts. I decided to go ahead and open up the envelope, which turned out to be another two-part clue. Wrapped in mini-bubble wrap was a framed picture of Dad with his hero.
Clue Number Four
“You never really understand a person
until you consider things from his point of view…
until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Another $500 was included.