I had just turned 30 a couple of days before my Dad “passed”.
It was a cold January morning in 1976 and I found myself on the other side of the Country in Newport, Oregon, where I was News Director of a small radio station on the coast.
Mom had never quite told me that he was seriously ill, with cancer, but she had informed me a week before his death that I needed to come home.
The day that I received the call about his death was the day before my arranged date back to Ohio.
I remember putting the phone down, walking out the door and heading to the beach along the Pacific Ocean.
There I walked for hours upon the sandy shore while the mist blew in from the white capped waves as they danced against the gray sky on one of those many winter gales.
To this day I still remember the thoughts that cascaded through my numbed senses.
The remembrances of excitement in waking up at four in the morning on a Saturday to go fishing at Schillings Mill; the Friday nights of watching Dad labor in his study to prepare his Sunday sermon; helping him in his beloved rose garden; Indian Y Guides Summer Camp and the time he took me to see the Yankees vs the Indians at Municipal Stadium…Ryan Duran pitched against Herb Score that night.
Granted, the church and his parishioners came first and I was always envious of the time they got to spend with Dad, yet looking back on it, I wouldn’t change a thing for he taught me about service to others.
He used the word love sparingly and emotion was not a manly thing. I remember he shook my hand when I left for the service and four years and a war later, he shook my hand when I returned.
He didn’t condone my anti-war stand in the early 70’s but always said that I had “earned the right” to voice my opinion and he always respected that right.
In his house it was his “rules” but when he came to my place he would abide by my rules, for instances, he knew I was a non smoker and he would always go outside to smoke a cigarette. It seemed that at “home” I was the son but at my house I was an equal.
Dad always said that the older I would get the “smarter” he would become and you know, he was right.
I do have regrets and one is that time went to quickly. It would have been nice to really have got to know the man I called Dad.
Happy Father’s Day.