Dear DadI don’t always remember to send you Father’s Day cards and this year is no exception. I apologize for that. As luck would have it, this Father’s Day lands on the Sunday when my blog post is due so I thought I would share with you and the world some memories that in one way or another have helped me become the person I am today.
My first-grade teacher’s name was Miss Bliss. By all accounts, she did not seem like a very nice person. She was very strict which in itself is fine but she was – to me – a bit too strict. If you did anything she did not approve of she would make you lay your head down on your desk for a specified amount of time. If you didn’t keep your head down, well, she just added more time. The overall theme in her classroom was that everyone must be quiet.
Even at that age I was not much of a conformist and I most certainly was a bit of a dreamer. I did not like working in groups and enjoyed being by myself (not much has changed for me 41 years later). I remember she wanted to put me in a special-ed class. I think this was because she did not quite know “what to do with me”. I learned at the age of six that you would always have my back when you came to my school and told the teacher and anyone else who was present I would NOT be put into a special class under any circumstance. If memory serves, which it may not, I think first grade improved a bit after that.
Not to sound like an atypical, stereotypical greeting card but I am truly thankful for all the times you took me fishing. We moved from Colorado to Wyoming after I finished kindergarten. I know the construction dried up in Colorado (man if only it would dry up just a bit today – too much building going on!) and you were able to get a job at the soda ash mines outside of Greenriver. As an adult, I realize now just how much of a blessing this truly was.
Over the years between living in Greenriver and the Bridger valley you took me to so many wonderful locations to drown a couple worms. I think some of the best moments were Fontenelle Dam, fishing the Blacks Fork but the very best will always be our trip to Half Moon Lake in Pinedale. I loved (and still do) to fish and there was not much back then that would deter me. Our trip was over Labor Day weekend and it was pouring down rain. I was out there though with a homemade poncho kindly provided with the owners of the lodge. I didn’t catch anything but I have to tell you, the solitude and peace of fishing the lake that day is something I will never forget and the images in my head are something I will forever treasure.
Sneaking Out of the House at Age 16
I was working the morning shifts at Little America and I realize now how awesome it was that you would take me to the bus stop and/or actually take me to work which was about 30 miles away! One evening I decided it would be a good idea to sneak out of the house to go party with my friends. I was out late and I drank way too much. I think we started off with beer and then ended with peppermint schnapps at a girl’s house. To this day I still cannot drink peppermint schnapps. After the schnapps, we ended up at Taco Time where I proceeded to dance on the tables which is something I don’t think I have shared with you until now. I was taken home and then I passed out and pretty sure I was sick all through the rest of the night.
Working the morning shift meant up at 6. There you were, right on time to wake me up and I will never forget what you said: “If you can stay up all night and party, you can go to work”. I thought I was on the verge of death and as I was getting ready, looking in the mirror to fix my hair, I was alarmed by the grey pallor of my skin. I think I asked (begged) several times if I could please stay home. No, was the answer. Attempting to work in this condition was torture. In those days, there was a whole room dedicated to pay phones so the truckers could keep in contact with loved ones. I called home several times begging for you to come get me. The answer was no. That was an incredibly important life lesson — there are always consequences for one’s actions. I do have to say this though dad and that is thank you for that lesson. I also thank you for the way you handled it. I thought if you knew what I was up to, it would have gone a completely different way.
I could go on and on and perhaps in another post, I will share more. For now, though, I will just say thank you. I am in the process of raising my own son and I realize that there is so much to teach him just as you had so much to teach me. Kindness, compassion, accountability, decency, love, strength of character, knowing the value of a dollar and the value of hard work – These are all things I learned from you and what I now attempt to teach my son.
Happy Father’s Day Dad! Thank you. I love you.
- A Day at Comic Con