October 11, 2009
Farewell Tribute to a True American
In loving memory of my dad—a salt of the earth genuine American—a man who fought with courage and dignity in the armed forces to keep our country safe, and to uphold the freedoms that he held so precious. He was a man who loved nature, open spaces, country roads, animals, and the crisp smell of autumn mornings—a man who knew the fatigue of hard manual labor, and the satisfaction of a job well done.
He was a man who filled more bird feeders in his lifetime than perhaps anyone on earth; a man who took stewardship of stray cats and dogs, a man who built a toad house that still sits beneath the downspout. He was a fine marksman with both gun and bow and arrow, and in his day he could swing a golf club with grace and ease.
He loved sugary doughnuts, heavy cream in his coffee, a cold beer, and watching a well-played game of baseball. He was a meat and potatoes kind of guy who never felt the need to wear a tux or learn how to use a cell phone. He was the kind of man who would stop to help a stranger with a flat tire, and more than once he lifted a dead animal from the side of the road, brought it home, and gave it a dignified burial in a shadowy slope by the woods he loved so much.
He was also a captivating storyteller.
As his days grew shorter and his legs weaker, one of his greatest joys was the simple pleasure and relaxation he received from riding his lawnmower. He loved it so much that it was the last thing he spoke about just hours before he left this earth.
Rest well, Dad … and God speed. I hope there’s a riding lawnmower waiting for you in heaven.
Somehow I believe there is.