Dear Old Dad
My father was born in Bountiful Utah in 1900. He was kidnapped by Ute Indians when he was 10 days old. After two weeks of negotiating with the Indians, he was returned to my grandmother.
He was raised on farms and ranches in Utah and Idaho. He moved to the big city of Salt Lake in about 1921 where he met my mother who was born in Silver City Utah in a tent in 1901.
Dad was always a hopeless romantic towards mother and the two of them never said one unkind word to each other. He became an accountant and after two years of unemployment during the Great Depression, he was able to work steadily until his retirement. His last employment years were as City Auditor of Salt Lake City.
Dad told us lots of stories about his days in Rich County, Utah (named after my great-grandfather, Charles C Rich) and on Ten Mile Pass in Idaho, near Soda Springs. He was a hunter and trapper trying to eke out an existence. While homesteading on Ten Mile Pass with his father, they suffered from scurvy until my father, with the help of his father, made him a pair of skis which allowed him to hunt.
Dad often took my brother, Don, and I fishing. He never fished himself, as he had earlier in his life, but he became extremely excited when we caught a fish. I remember when we were catching trout on the Yellowstone River just below Fishing Bridge, throwing trout up to Dad on the bank above. It was very exciting and very fun for Dad.
It was very funny to Don and me, see our father jumping around like a jumping jack.
Dad always expected us to be independent. However, when I was in college and my wife and I were looking for the next meal, Dad and Mother showed up with boxes of groceries. I don’t know how they knew we were hurting. Maybe it was because Dad knew that we had to pay for surgery on our new son and that my wife was not working. My part-time jobs and G.I. benefits from the Korean War, were not enough. However, I suspect that my wife’s dad told him.
Dad was a lifelong church worker. He was also a writer. When I was a baby, he wrote a story for the Rocky Mountain News called Will a Coyote Commit Suicide? That bought me canned milk. He also wrote some pretty good poetry that he published in the world fair poetry journals.
Seeing Dad pound on his typewriter out in the garage made me want to be a writer.
Unfortunately, some folks have never met their father.. Many young fathers were killed in wars. Some never stuck around a long enough to be a father. Even “unknown” fathers are sought after by their children, in many cases. Most of us want to know who our father was.
I hope that you can be with your father on Father’s Day. If he is gone, maybe you can visit his grave.
Father’s Day is a day for remembrance.
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