Father’s Day

Happy Family!

I do like to mention my father in these pages, as you have seen if you’ve been reading along.  He is responsible for much about the man I have become; certainly a lot of good things, and perhaps a few of my flaws as well.

Larger Than Life.  I don’t hear this term used so much, and I’m glad, because overuse tends to wear out a concept.  If we all cuss all the time, then it loses any basis for emphasis that it began with.  If everything is “awesome”, then nothing is “awesome”.  My father is larger than life.

He is a storyteller.  I know people who know about these things who rate him pretty high as a storyteller.  And in my mind, he is up there with Aesop and Uncle Remus and Mark Twain and Garrison Keillor and Kurt Vonnegut.  Of course he almost never writes.  Even when he composed a sonnet one day, it was my mother who transcribed it.

He reminds me of Robert Roark’s grandfather.  In fact, when I was young and he was handing me Robert Roark and Havilah Babcock and other people to read, I always took those books very personally.  He read a lot when I was young, and it helped to infect me with the joy of reading.

Through his stories and through his actions, he has taught me what it means to be a man; a gentleman; a conservationist; an independent thinker.  I learned to be someone who is kind to animals, small children, and women.  I learned that the tint of an individual’s skin bears no relation to the kind of person they are, nor how you should treat them.

He has taught me how to cook, how to wire a lamp, use a wood lathe, chop wood, farm a field, fix a fence, look after horses.  He taught me that if you hunt and kill something, it should be for food, not sport, and you need to know how to clean, butcher, and cook that thing.

He has taught me how to stand up for principle, how to speak my mind, and even sometimes how to recognize when it is time for me to shut my mouth.

From him I have learned that life can be hard, but that you can get through it.  I learned that it is ok to cry when you are that moved.  I learned that you better treat people right – today – because you don’t know how long you will have them.

As he has gotten older, he has gotten deafer, which can make it harder to have a good quiet conversation with him.  I have been with him long enough that I am content to just be near him, but I worry that people who haven’t known him as long as I do may be missing contributions to conversations that he doesn’t hear.

There isn’t anything in this world more important to me than family.  It is how I was raised, and I’m pretty stubborn and sometimes short-sighted when it comes to sticking by family.  Back in the 90s, my father and I worked a business together that he added me to, and taught me how to do.  Sometimes people would point out to me that I could have been making a lot more money by going off on my own, very easily, which was true.  I just had to look at them, and mumble something about family, because I couldn’t have left him any more than I can swim like a duck.  He’s my DAD, through thick and thin, right or wrong, good and bad.

Certainly he is not perfect.  The notion would be eye-rolling.  But I wouldn’t trade him.  There is no father that I’ve known that I would rather have raised me than him.

I know too many people who wait to verbalize this stuff when the person is dead and gone.  I want to say this to him while I have him:

Happy Father’s Day!

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One Response to “Father’s Day”

  1. kitsapFG Says:

    You are fortunate to have such a good man for a father. He sounds like someone I would love to meet and know (as do you).

    Sadly, I lost my father earlier this year, but I have no regrets in that I made the time to tell him how important and loved he was every opportunity that I could.

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