So... after a few months of renewed communication via email, I met with my father yesterday morning for a bike ride. We rode the rail trail out to the bridge in Rosendale; spent about two hours together. It was the first time since 2002 that I'd spent any time with him. I asked him about his job and about his siblings, and he told me a little about his health as well (his prostate cancer responded very well to treatment, and he's free of cardiovascular disease - a concern, because it runs in his family). The only question he asked me during our time together, on the other hand, was how my company keeps track of me while I'm telecommuting; i. e., how they know I'm actually working. It really felt like a continuation of the last conversation we had in 2002; him talking about himself and his beliefs and interests, and me listening. For a while yesterday evening, I considered the possibility that perhaps he was just trying to avoid any sensitive topics (and maybe this was true); but he really didn't ask me anything at all. It wasn't surprising, but it was disappointing.
I gave him my sister's email address, as she asked me to, and he seemed happy for (and surprised by) that. Perhaps she will be willing to come with me if I meet with him again.
I don't know if I'm being too harsh on him or missing something or jumping to unwarranted conclusions. It wouldn't be the first time I misread a situation. But I don't think I'm wrong here to let my memories of the past colour my experience of the present. He doesn't seem much different from who I remember, and, well, I guess that's what I have to accept if I want to continue having contact with him.