The background childhood experiences reveal Dave's character traits as an adolescent and young man. The kind couple Dave treats as parents give him ample space to study these lessons from his past and to learn from them. It is when his father is dying of cancer that Dave attempts to reestablish contact with the man.
The son's lifelong wish is to become a firefighter in the steps of his father. To accomplish that dream, Dave joins the Air Force, where he overcomes obstacles that would stop an ordinary man. But his determination pulls him past these obstacles in his quest for recognition. He becomes an in-flight fueling technician for the Air Force, a highly regarded job and, in the course of his career, he meets his first love. A rush into marriage proves disastrous, but his son, Stephen, is the result of that union. Dave's inability to trust another person is a partial reason for the failure of his marriage --- until he can finally come to terms with the facts of his childhood, he cannot give total trust to any
Dave spends countless hours with his dying father, trying to untangle in his mind the web of broken family relationships. He attempts to sort out the whys of his mother's sad existence by deepening his ties to his father, but those answers do not unfold during this time. Much later, after his mother's death,...