This day, to celebrate the father in our life, is worthy from all manner of angles. If you have a good one you are blessed and know it. If you never knew your dad (rambling procreation) or he was more like child than a man, then the celebration is seemingly inappropriate. That is life. No point sugar-coating it. I was fortunate to have an amazing father. As he lay in a hospital bed, chugging out his final breaths from a stroke, I rubbed his forehead and held his hand and told him I loved him as he grew still. My father never told me he loved me. He never gave me a hug. He just crafted an image in my mind of how a caring, enduring father should operate day after day.

He did give me much and I am thankful I saw it, sensed it, early on. He worked from  about 12 y/o until his death in his 70’s. Often he worked two jobs. He never complained, at least so I would hear it. He had his demons and dark side, I know today, yet I never saw it. He worked day in and out and instilled in me a stoic work ethic that coupled with pride I have copied most of my life.

What is most enduring is his love of the outdoors. He loved camping. CAMPING CRAFT GUIDE
The whole process of getting ready for the trip was as important to him as it was to this boy. And once we were at our campground (early on selected for its close proximity to fishing) he shined with such perfection that I have spent my adult life emulating his skills, pace, confidence to provide my family many pleasant, memorable outdoor experiences. He taught me all manner of camp skills that I have passed on and already see my dad’s efforts coming to pass in all my children and their loved ones. He taught me how to BBQ, how to prepare and cook not just camping but at home as well. And he taught me to appreciate funky ‘Hawaiian’ shirts before they, if ever, became popular.

To the quiet, steady man from the hills of West Virginia…who endured the Aleutian Islands of WWII…helped conquer the truly wilds of the Yukon to create the Al-Can Hiway…who worked his rear off at two jobs and provided for me a work ethic, safe home, education and much more….Thank you dad. 

To all the good men who do the good deeds of fatherhood~manhood….cheers to you!