May 23rd, 2012

It's funny the conversations that you can get into and occasionally something will come to light that you never realized.

Just such a conversation took place in my shop the other day and the "enlightenment" has been on my mind since then.

The topic started about canoeing in smaller rivers and came full circle to a discussion about lake fishing. As a rule, I don't care much for water. I don't mind swimming pools or clear water streams but almost never get in a lake anymore. We got to talking about fishing on lakes at night and the fact that it can be a little spooky.

I mentioned a time that my Dad, my brother and myself were out on a smaller lake, at night and I recalled how much fun we had.

It was at that point that I realized something that had never really occurred to me. As long as Dad was there, I was never scared.

That got me to thinking about all the times up through my teenage years when being scared was understandable but again, if Dad was there it was OK.

When I was a kid, Dad was a preacher so he wasn't exactly the kind of guy you would see in a bar room brawl nor was even confrontational. However, he stood 6 feet tall and weighed over 200 pounds so when he spoke, folks tended to listen. When he died at 68 his arms were still bigger than mine.

Thinking about having no fear when Dad was around reminded me of a day back in the late 70's. I was a senior in high school, knew everything and seldom knew when to shut up. Our home was near an intersection, not a busy intersection but some traffic, most of which were all driving too fast. This particular morning, from inside the house we heard a vehicle and some clunking noises. Shortly it was discovered that someone had basically come around the corner too fast and ran through our front yard.

So I was out in the driveway putting the small river rocks that lined the driveway back in place when a pickup truck came around the same corner, traveling too fast for my liking and (not knowing when to shut up) kicked in so I yelled at the driver.

He stopped, backed up, got out of truck and kind of walked my direction while cussing me and of course I was cussing back. When the front door of the house opened and Dad stepped out, mysteriously, the conversation was over and the truck left the scene.

Probably didn't change the drivers habits if he ever even figured out why I was yelling at him. But he probably never forgot the potential for personal injury when he saw Dad. I guess maybe it's a win win. I try to refrain from yelling at drivers and that guy probably tries to refrain from getting out of his truck.

When I decided to run away from home at the age of 5 or 6 Dad offered to help me pack. When I got to the end of the driveway and the hoot owl let out a screech, my feet didn't touch the ground again until I was back in the house. And the list goes on and on.

Thinking of Dad as the protector or just not having a lot of fear when Dad was present wasn't something I had ever really thought about and it was an interesting trip down memory lane.

Dad died in the fall of 2002 and I still miss him a lot. I still catch myself thinking on Saturday morning sometimes that I should give him a call. When he was alive I would do just that.

One of my regular customers was visiting with me one day and said that he talks to his son by phone every Saturday morning. And this time not knowing when to shut up might have been OK. I looked him in the eye and said "when you're gone he will think of you every Saturday morning." It came out before I could even slow it down. I meant it in a positive light and he understood.

The older I get the more I realize how fast time passes by and the more I understand about my Dad, his views, his habits, his nature.

A few years ago I stopped by to visit an Aunt I had not seen in a while. I charged right past the "No Tresspassing" signs and the "Get out of your car and I'll shoot signs." When the door opened I said "do you know who I am?" She said "well yes, you're one of the Wade boys".

Yes, Yes I am.

Thanks Dad, for everything.