Thursday, May 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Daddy...

The first picture is of my Mom and Dad the summer they got engaged. They had just won a canoe race on Long Lake in Fifield, Wisconsin. The second picture is of my Dad as a very young man. He is in the middle. The two other guys were his very best friends… and they remained best friends forever. All three are now in heaven…. And I like to think of them up there together, tapping another keg and having a rip-roaring good time

Today is my Father’s birthday. He would have been 75 years old. Unfortunately, he died in October of 1983, at the young age of 52. Sometimes it seems as though it’s been a very long time since we lost him, and then there are times when it seems just like yesterday. My Dad was such a vibrant person. He had a wonderful sense of humor and at times could be outlandish. He loved being silly and teasing us… especially when we were young.

We had lots of pets growing up. Often, one of the conditions of be allowed to get a pet, was that Daddy would be allowed to chose the pet’s name. As an example of this, we had a guinea pig named S.O.B., a hamster named Horace. There were always lots and lots of pets. My Dad loved dogs, but was also fond of cats. He walked the Dogs every night, and it wasn’t unusual for a cat to follow along.

He was a loving man… a loving husband and father. While he was not a saint, he was a good man. Certainly, he had his flaws… as all of us do. He was honest and loyal. He had lots of good friends… and made new friends easily. He was the favorite Uncle. Everyone loved Uncle Jack, and whenever we were on some sort of family expedition, all the kids would want to ride in his car.

He loved the outdoors and his most favorite place on earth was the Northwood’s of Wisconsin. He called it God’s Country. No matter where he was, he was an early riser! Fishing was his passion. He enjoyed hunting too. And while he enjoyed a good catch, I think he was just happy being on the water, or in the woods. He loved bird watching, and passed that passion on to me. In fact, I have his binoculars. I’ll never forget when he got them. At the time, they were “top of the line” and quite expensive. My Mother gave them to me… and whenever I watch a bird through them, it feels like I’m almost watching them through my Dad’s eyes.

I miss him so much… I feel badly that Russell never got to meet him. I feel badly that my nephew’s never knew their Papa Jack. I “know” that my Father is nearby…. Loving us and watching… and for that I am grateful.

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