Growing up with him, as my dad, was often exciting. He has been called the Indiana Jones of MO. He was always exploring Missouri landscape or caves. He often rescued Indian artifacts from the farmer's plows and preserved them with care as if they were his own family treasures. I saw him nurse all kinds of wild critters back to health when they had been injured. If they were afraid of him, they weren't so much at the end. Because of his ease with wildlife, I can hold a snake or a frog and not feel threatened.
I saw blocks of wood and sticks intricately carved into statues and walking sticks or canes. I saw blank canvas turned into familiar scenes or new places.
And he's always liked storytelling through writing.
He loves history. He’s been in civil war reenactments. He’s been in community skits. He’s written for our local newspapers and other Missouri publications. He also had an acting part where he rode a horse (may have been his own) in an independently made movie.
A Memory: In the mid 1970’s a snow storm hit our area knocking out power and piling snow on the roadways. And I mean piling. We were stuck and without electricity for at least a week. I was into reading classics then too and after reading the first few chapters of Jane Eyre had finally become interested. I was invested and now wanted desperately to read my book and tried to do so by whatever light we had: candles, kerosene lamps and flashlights. My dad decided, however, I needed to take a break, that I might be straining my eyes. He read one of his futuristic stories to us. Although I don’t remember the details of the story, I do remember it was about earth and how disease (I think) had wiped out most of the world's population. There was, of course, more to it than that, but what I remember most was the mood and how I related our circumstance (feeling isolated) to the character's circumstance in the story.
Lessons learned: One of the best lessons I learned from my dad was something (and still in my mind) he told us growing up. He said, we needed to be fair to all people and not discriminate against anyone because of race or social status.
Best Gifts: My dad has been a trustworthy presence to me in my darkest hours. But, the best gift that he has given me is his love and commitment to my mom and their marriage. If you are wondering, this is the best gift you can give your children, too. Although my parent’s relationship like everyone’s has not been trouble free, they both have been committed to each other, never giving up.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.