Celebration of Life

Moving beyond my pain and celebrating life.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Memories of Dad....

Today is Dad's birthday. I am the same age now that he was when he died suddenly of a heart attack. He retired in 1978 and was only able to enjoy his retirement for 3 years. He was a large man, bigger than life. I wasn't the only one who thought he looked like Marshall Dillon from 'Gun Smoke.' When he walked into the room, everyone knew that he was there.

Dad had an air about him that demanded respect and he was highly regarded in the community and throughout Wyoming. When he became a Game Warden he saw there was a need for a reference manual for G&F personnel about Wyoming's Wildlife. On his own, he painstakingly wrote it and it was published for all G&F personnel. It is still used today. My daughter has a friend who's boyfriend works for the G&F in Green River. Laura asked him if he had one of those reference manuals and he said of course he did. She then told him that it was her Grandfather that wrote it. She was beaming with pride when she was relating that story to me.

Dad had quite a sense of humor and was a prankster. One time when I was newly married and pregnant, late in the evening there was a knock on our apartment door. My husband answered it and in walked a man I didn't recognize but had a G&F jacket on. He told my husband that he was there to check our freezer to see how many frozen fish we had. My husband was a fisherman and hunter and our freezer was full of wild game but had no fish because we ate what he caught, right away. I thought this was an odd request because I had not heard of anyone 'randomly' checking people's freezers for fish. Our freezer chest was close to the door so my husband opened it. The man inspected or freezer then commenced to tell my husband that he had labled the packages wrong, had them stored out of order etc. It was at that time that my husband became irritated and started yelling at the man. That's when I heard it, the sound of my Dad's deep throated laughter booming from the porch; it was a prank! My grandparents learned to 'guard their cart' whenever they went grocery shopping with my parents because if they didn't, they would find all kinds of strange things that they hadn't put there. I remember Dad relating the incidents to us and how tears would roll down his cheeks because he was laughing so hard about teasing his parents.

Dad did not tolerate ignorance or disrespect. He did not tolerate the use of slang or any kind of cussing. Even though he raised 6 girls he taught us and had us work like men. We chopped wood, hauled wood, shoveled snow, cleaned the barn stalls, mowed the grass (with a push mower not a gas or electric one) and taught us a work ethic that is still with me to this day.

As a husband and father Dad made his mistakes but somehow through the years since his death, the mistakes have faded and good memories of his sense of humor and laughter ring stronger. Dad lived hard and died young and left a legacy for his daughters and grandchildren.

I still miss you Daddy and today I am celebrating your memory!


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