When WWII broke out, Dad was 31, probably still living at home, and still single. They called him up for a physical, but he was recovering from a broken leg, so they sent him home. It was Uncle Sam’s loss, he would have made a good soldier. Dad was mild mannered, modest and reverent, and got along well with everyone, including his parents, brothers and sisters – and of course with his wife, my mother. His value system was unquestioned in the community; not because he made a big deal about it, but just the way he lived his life. Our family was poor, by today’s standards; Dad was nearly 60 before he could afford a used pickup truck.
Dad loved the outdoors; his job at a rock quarry had him drilling the holes, packing the dynamite charges and setting them off. I never got to be part of that; but when he wasn’t working he was hunting, fishing, trapping, cutting wood, picking berries, mushroom hunting or working with his honey bees or in the garden — all outside activities; and it was my great fortune to spend time with Dad. I can also remember swimming in the creek, planting trees and making maple syrup in sugar
camp one spring.
Once in a while someone asks why I hunt. My answer is simple: “Dad taught me to hunt and fish, when I was just a kid; and I’ve been doing it ever since.” I’ve also taught my kids to hunt and fish and they in turn are teaching theirs. Perhaps it’s part of our DNA.
I remember a few of Dad’s stories: one about him climbing into a tree to get a raccoon out of a hole and dropping his rifle — breaking the stock. Another was about the only wild turkey he ever shot. Dad was a deer hunter and I recall a story about him shooting a buck that was running flat out through the brush and another about shooting and missing a standing doe because the rear sight elevator had fallen out of his Marlin 30/30 carbine, causing it to shoot low. And there were fishing stories!
Dad’s been gone now for over 25 years, and what I most remember about him on Father’s Day is how he lived his life, the example that he set and the stories that he told. He was a great father and would be pleased to see my office and listen to some of my stories.