Ninety-three. That simply doesn’t seem possible.
And terribly frightened after he died – suddenly, I didn’t have excuses anymore. If I stayed in the same town, it couldn’t be because of dad anymore. There wasn’t the financial safety net I knew was there, though I tried not to use or abuse it.
I don’t like thinking about that part so much. The happiest times were those when I was a kid and young adult, when dad was healthy and we were a family.
Because I was his only kid – and a girl – I knew I was the “apple of the eye.”
And I remember fishing with him at the lake. This photo of him as a child showed the start of a lifelong love of fishing that he carried onto the trout stream and up to the lake, where he was known for both good catches (and some tall tales!)I didn't realize I was learning this at the time, but one of my dad's lessons, through fishing, was the lesson of patience -- and "tossing back." (I wish that translated into tossing out things I don't use and getting rid of clutter, but that part hasn't stuck.)
And he was a terrific (and only) child to my grandparents. They moved to a farm shortly after he was born and their lifestyle was very humble. I recall many fun times picking corn and berries, which we'd enjoy in wonderful garden feasts. He loved Grandma's custard pie, better than any other dessert she made!
Even after my parents were married and circumstances were more lucrative, he never was big into status (as evidenced by his clothing – Ralph Lauren he was not!)
They worked well as a team in just about everything. And they enjoyed many things in common -- travel, the lake, the family. I don't think my dad ever missed a play or musical in which I appeared -- often going multiple times!
He enjoyed my friends, and they seemed to like him, too. In fact, Dad liked about everyone. I remember my cousin David once saying, "Ken never met a stranger."After mom and my aunt Grace died, our families carved out new holiday traditions, but even in the photos always seemed as though something was missing. It was. Mom and Grace.
Dad was pretty artistic, and while I probably get my creative passion from Mom, he certainly had his share. I have a couple of paintings he did and some nice photography. In fact, as a kid, he and mom had a darkroom and cameras, and were always shooting something. That was a hobby he continued until he was quite old. The camera was always at hand (even when he was watching me do pledge breaks on TV. Like I said, he was very proud of me!) I think the exposure to photography wore off on me!
Don’t you see, I told him. You gave me more than I could ever want. The values, the joys, the experiences. That’s what matters.
I still believe that.
Happy birthday, Dad!
In a bowl using a fork (Grandma said this would keep the pie from being running on top), mix:
1/2 c. sugar
1 level Tablespoon of flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Add: 2 eggs
2 c. milk
Pour into pie shell and bake at least 1 hour at 400. When pie is set in the middle (holds together, knife comes out clean), it's done.