Passing it on; Memories of my Father
I often forget. I need a heavy piece of furniture moved, or have a question about a new rattle in my car. And then I remember. I can’t ask him. He is no longer with us. My father passed four years ago today after a long, hard battle with lung cancer. Fresh tears flow as I begin this blog. It is not the entry that I thought would be next, but when I got up early and grabbed the coffee cup with the nature scene with of a deer etched on the outside that was once his, I knew it was time to write about it. It perplexes me how four years can go by and yet his presence seems just a phone call away, except, I can’t.
I would probably label myself a daddy’s girl. I grew up with him toting me across fields and pitching me across the creeks as he took me along on his hunting trip. We never caught much on those trips. Mainly because I was too noisy and had too many questions. We would often be in the forrest early. The sun would rise over the Harpeth river and bring in an early morning fog as the sun’s rays hit the water.
We shared a love of fishing and he taught me how to watch the swirl of the water for where the best chances of catching something were. He taught me how to look at the dirt for signs of worms. My job as a child was to break open the big clods of dirt and find the worms as he would chunk up big clods with one swing from a grubbing hoe.
For a birthday one year, he bought me a .22 rifle. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I was still playing with “My Little Ponies” so I must have been around 11 or so. He taught me to aim, hold my breath and pull the trigger. I practiced on a thick cedar fence post until the post fell over. At that point, he thought I was ready to hunt. I am probably only one of a handful of women who can field-dress and butcher a deer. I don’t, but I know how if I had to.
When Gillian and Katherine were little he ingrained in them a respect for the circle of life by accidentally having ducks at the same time he was hatching out salamander eggs. Those were some well fed ducks.
Although I weep for time with him I no longer have, I am grateful for the love of nature I am now hopefully passing on to my own children.