In honor of Father’s Day, this photograph of my Dad with my Mom in the old family homestead in Wisconsin (ironically the sale of it was closed this week) on their 50th wedding anniversary weekend back in 2005.
Dad had suffered a stroke in 1999 and he was never the same after that, although on this weekend he was in very good form all things considered.
Nicki never knew my Dad as the Dad I grew up with — thoughtful, interested in history, sports and politics (don’t get him started!) and a somewhat stern disciplinarian to the outside world.
He was an incredibly hardworking guy.
He had a side business creating and selling his own custom brands of turf grass as well as fertilizer that he started while we were young which supplemented the family income. It also provided me with lots of dusty, heaving-lifting hours of work over summer and winter breaks from college which helped me buy some of my early camera gear. I don’t quite know how my Dad and Mom did it, raising four kids — four high energy kids. Not only did they do it and do it well, but we all went off to college and contribute to the world now. The hard work ethic that he grew up with is something that we all share.
Deep down Dad was a fun-loving guy who loved to laugh and smile. Every time I see old reruns of classic tv shows like “Laugh In” or “The Carol Burnett Show” I flash back to being a young boy in bed, and hearing my Dad howling with laughter from downstairs as those shows played.
Ironically the stroke brought out that part of his personality in a very child-like kind of way.
Kate knew him briefly — she was only six months old when he passed away but he did get to see her soon after she was born and again at her baptism a few months later. Sparky, unfortunately will never get to know him except in stories and photographs.
I’ll never forget him — I sometimes feel as if he is speaking through me (especially when driving and trying to keep the kids quiet in the back of the car!) and hope that I can impart some of his vast store of knowledge on my kids like he did for me.
Happy Father’s Day Dad — we love and miss you!