Dad was a hard man. Stubborn, tough…at times, hard to like let alone love. I can find a few bumps to show where we often butted heads. But considering his era – World War I, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II – he turned out pretty well. In reality he turned his grade 8 education into a pretty successful life.
Looking back I wonder what he passed on to my sisters and me. Certainly, in me there is a stubborn streak. Some won’t believe that I put that thought in print. (….fingers crossed behind my back.)
On another plain though, there are the values…. values of family, honesty, hard work and friendship. I see those same values in our sons and their families. And in my sisters and their families. He would be very proud.
In later life his love for music emerged when he joined the Arion Male Choir in Victoria, B.C. Singing became his real passion as photography has become mine. I know for sure that he didn’t pass his singing ability on to me. Even when Parkinson’s disease took hold of his body he still managed to take his place with his beloved choir.
As evidenced by the boxes of slides and black and whites in our basement he also loved photography. His camera traveled everywhere with him. I loved it when night fell. The window blinds were drawn, the doors were shut and the kitchen was turned into a darkroom. It was there that the magic of photography came to life for me. It was such a special time.
Now, watching our grandchildren grow, learn and develop I marvel at their world. Digital everything! Their interests and values are emerging. These are what will carry them through their lives as they have done for me.
Many years have passed since my dad left us. Age has given me a different perspective of his life and on fatherhood. There are no lessons, only experiences, values, hard work, honesty and integrity.
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Ellen, our family and friends who have come into my life are what is most important. I still have many challenges left on my bucket list. Photography is at the root of most of them. Thanks to my dad’s vision and his desire for us to have a better education than he had and the more than several head bumps that occurred between us I have a good chance of clearing some of those challenges from my list.