If he were still with us, today would be my dad’s 90th birthday. My Canadian-born and eventually American father left this life just over three years ago, functioning pretty well right up until the end.
He spent his early childhood on a tenant farm on the prairie of Saskatchewan, immigrated to the U.S. with his parents passing through Portal, North Dakota and wound up in what is now the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. When I was small, he’d occasionally remark as we walked a trail that he used to walk behind two horses with a plow in a former field possibly by then filled with sumac. He spent the rest of his boyhood wandering the woods and fields and continued to wander there into his 80’s. He attended college for a couple of years and in 1940 enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served this country until 1945. After the war, he returned to college briefly, but then decided not to finish.
He spent many years working, and many after that retired, but never bored. He survived both of his wives, the first whom he lost to cancer when they were in their mid-40’s and the second, my mother, to dementia when he was 83.
He was frugal but not stingy. Besides hiking he’d enjoyed gardening and canoeing. He liked dogs and tolerated cats. He read extensively in the areas of politics and economics and was an avid follower of current events. He always had opinions about things. He had good social skills but also really valued quiet time alone.
All these little facts contributed to who he was, but they don’t really sum up his person or his life.
Here’s to you, Dad. You’re certainly remembered fondly.