Archive for June, 2016

Father’s Day 2016

Sunday, June 19th, 2016



I’ve seen all the posts all over social media today about people’s fathers. Although this entry will end up there, I’m pretty sure my dad wouldn’t be offended if I didn’t put anything on there at all. I’ve always made it known how I feel and to a lesser extent how much I appreciate everything he has done for me and my family members.

Looking back at my childhood, I never had to search for a role model. I had the perfect role models in both of my parents. They taught me the difference between right and wrong and laid a solid foundation for me to build upon.

Today I sit back and look at the big picture. I’m still not sure how  47 years have gone by in the blink of an eye. It seems like I was 30 years old a few weeks ago. Through it all my two role models have remained the same, and luckily they are both still with me today. They’ve seen me through all the highs and lows, and I’ve been on top of the world at times and in the very depths of despair at other times.

Today is the celebration of father’s day, so it’s only fair that my father gets his props today. I’m not about buying insignificant gifts to say thanks for being a great dad. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t think a generic gift really does what so many other people think it does.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write anything for my mom this year, but she was in Europe with my dad on Mother’s Day. Once again, my two role models living a life that so many other people can only dream about. When they were pregnant and married in high school over 50 years ago, I’m pretty sure not many people would have given the relationship much chance of surviving the test of time. Parents of one at 18 and parents of three by the time they were 22.

Two children began giving lessons to their own children before they were old enough to know much about life. It’s amazing how much life experience can give to a person, but my parents figured out as they traveled along the road of adulthood.

My father introduced me to team sports because he never had a chance to play them since he grew up on a dairy farm and spent countless hours in the barn milking cows, in the fields cutting hay, and on a tractor plowing and sewing fields. The farm enabled him to learn how to do everything under the sun. Unfortunately, I never picked up on a lot of those things, but in reality it’s probably because he did everything for me. He showed me how to change tires, brakes and oil even though the dipstick oil event turned into a memory he will never forget. He taught me how to properly mow the lawn, rake the leaves and turn the power off in the fuse box when something needed to be worked on that involved electricity. He taught me how to cast my fishing line in the slow eddies behind rocks in the big rivers to entice big brown trout out of their hiding places. He taught me to find overturned leaves and determine if deer were overturning them while feeding on acorns or beechnuts. He taught me to locate a cluster of rubs in the woods and figure out a plan to see the buck that left them in that place. He taught me to inhale while steadying my aim with a rifle and exhaling as I squeezed the trigger until the shot broke. He introduced me to the stick and string, which has since consumed my life. He showed me some of his hobbies, and I followed in his footsteps and taught him a little bit along the way. I’m sure he never imagined where he and I would travel when he placed a bow in my hands as he was building his home in 1974. I’m sure he never imagined I would have a successful archery career littered with halfway decent accomplishments in amateur ranks as well as semiprofessional ranks. I’ll bet my last dollar that he never imagined we would reach the summit of 11-12,000 foot peaks in the Rockies while chasing elk. I’m sure he didn’t know he would have to pack extra gear to make sure I was okay and my diabetes wouldn’t lead me into the darkness of death. Although I was unconscious at times and it didn’t phase me, I bet he remained calm and steady while bringing me back to life. I’ll never forget when I came home and the red and white Yamaha 80 dirt bike was sitting in the driveway. He taught me how to drive it and let me rip around the fields behind the house. As time moved on, my mother took out a loan to buy me a Honda XL 200, so I could follow my passion of riding off road. She paid the loan every month for a few years just so I could do my own thing.

I still remember laying on my belly under an apple tree behind the house. My dad and I were inches apart when the turkey gobbled. My shotgun was pointed forward when I saw the bird coming toward us. Although I knew it was a hen, I could hear my father telling me to wait. Seconds later, I pulled the trigger and celebrated my first wild turkey. It was long before anyone in the area even turkey hunted.

Last fall I sat beside him on the float plane as we waited to take off. Once in the air, we both looked out the windows and took it all in. I’m not sure of his thoughts, but I know I was thankful for the journey that brought us to Newfoundland. It all started when he taught me how to shoot a gun when I was 10 years old, then a bow, and my passion for the outdoors and hunting took off from there. When a son shares the same passion as his father, it’s going to create a lifetime of unbelievable memories —— and it has done exactly that.

When I wrote my books, I dedicated them to my parents. They have supplied me with everything I ever needed to do anything I wanted to do in life. I don’t take it for granted. When my mother called me at work a few years ago in a panic-stricken frame of mind, I knew I might lose my dad. Luckily, he survived the heart attack and gave us more time to enjoy his fatherhood. Sometimes it makes me really angry when he doesn’t follow the doctor’s directions. I’ve always followed the orders since I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1975. I just wonder why he can’t do the same thing. It would probably extend his life, but at 69 years old it’s pretty hard to change a person’s habits.

I could continue writing for the rest of the day, but I have to cut this short because I’m going out to dinner with my heroes. Hopefully, the time together will be a good time to reflect on the meaning of the day and what brings us together.

Thanks dad for always being there, even when I have been less than deserving. Congratulations on your gold medals the last two weeks at the Massachusetts senior games and the New York senior games. It’s really nice to see that you’ve excelled in that arena after carting my ass around the country for all those years and watching me succeed. It’s nice to finally be on the other end of the stick and see the success. I hope you’ve enjoyed your day. I know you’ve probably been outside all day working on something. You might have mowed the fields with the tractor, worked on the deck, messed around with the stones or maybe, just maybe you sat back and relaxed for the day. No matter what happened, this is your day. Happy Father’s Day. I love you dad.