OK, unsolicited advice.
I don't think my Dad has ever played any of my pins.
I'm lucky, though, that he has gone on many pinball trips with me, delivering games, picking up games, etc.
He's helped with plenty of projects, engineering solutions to problems, helping me build crates, pallets, jigs, gluing up old rickety cabinets, etc. Dad enjoys woodworking.. I don't.
We have photography in common, I guess, and really, I like to work with my hands and he likes to work with his hands. Maybe not on the same things most of the time, but on some things, yes.
I guess I'm lucky that I get along well with him, and get to see him more often than a 'couple times a year'.
I don't have many regrets in life. I've made my fair share of mistakes, learned from them all. I hope anyways.
One thing I *do* regret is not taking the opportunity to get to know my Grandfather when I had the opportunity. He passed away in February at 93, and had Alzheimers disease. For 7 or 8 years, give or take, he hadn't known who I was. As I talked with his few living friends (when you live to be 93, you outlive most of your friends!), I realized that he was a very wise man, someone I'd really like to be more like - and when I had the opportunity to get to know him, I was just a kid who was young and had 'better things to do'. I'm sure this is a pretty common story
Find something you've got in common with your Dad, and enjoy it. Even if it has to be something he enjoys. And yes, there is something he enjoys, whether you're willing to admit it or not.
Pinball is a part of your life - it isn't the whole life. Pinball was too large a part of my life for a few years, and I missed out on some really good things, and ended up ignoring pinball for a couple years at one point, because I got burned out.
I hope your relationship with your Dad improves. My 4 year old comes out in my workshop all the time. I wait til he goes to bed to start wrenching on games, but inevitably, some nights he gets up out of bed and wanders out there. He wants to help so badly. Not because he enjoys pinball - because he wants to spend time with me. Some nights, I just stop working, pick him up and set him on the workbench, and pull up my stool. We talk about whatever he wants to talk about, hang out, and have a great time.
I hope when your Dad is gone, you've got more to remember him by than a MM and BBB. Seriously.
My prized possession? Besides my kids? My Grandfather's flag. He was in WW2 and had full Military Honors at his funeral. His wishes were that *I* have the flag. I found out the day of his funeral. I own a buttload of pins, and have owned damn near every collectible pin under the sun, but even my favorites now mean very little in comparison to the that.
I wish I'd taken the opportunity to get to know him better, he obviously thought very highly of me.
Sometimes we have a hard time understanding or identifying with someone who is different than we are - from a different time, from a different country, whatever the case may be.