Posts Tagged ‘Yukon

19
Jun
11

Happy Father’s Day

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!

19
Jan
09

Alcan Highway (My father’s passed on…a roadtrip for him?)

My dad died in 1997, and one of his most cherished memories was being part of a ground breaking force that helped construct the Alcan Highway. He was a Staff Sgt. in the Army’s 18th Engineer Combat Regiment. He moved from Skagway toward Whitehorse and then inland for the better part of a year under extreme conditions. He also spent very hard times on Attu & Shemya in the Aleutians. His origins were from the hills of West Virginia, near Panther. Eleven children, a farm, coal mines and a lumber mill. Stills and shotguns. He left home young. He grew up quick. This was my dad. That was my surrounding aura of expectations. My dad worked til he died at 76 y/o. He never really learned how to relax. He did take me camping and as often as not, it was where I steered him toward possible fish. He didn’t fish, but he drove that way anyway. 

I have a calling toward that mega roadtrip in his honor. Time is passing. I figure I would need a month to move up and back from Oregon to some meaningful end point to say we made it and to incorporate the fishing of B.C. and part of the Yukon. I am not sure I will make this happen. But, to write about it and the tough men that endured that experience is at a minimum important. It reminds me of my blessings. It reminds me of my genetics and upbringing. It reminds me to not be a complainer….he wasn’t. Duty, honor, country. He was man of complex components and a simple result…a rock. Love you dad.   

http://www.scribd.com/doc/277490/Construction-of-the-Alcan-Highway-1942     

alcan1

http://www.alaskahighwayarchives.ca/en/chap2/7neal.php

http://www.historynet.com/alaska-highway-the-biggest-and-hardest-job-since-the-panama-canal.htm

If anyone knows of viable fly fishing opportunities up that way, let me know sometime. I may make it in a year or two.          




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