I can remember, although some are more vague then others, many memories surrounding going boating with dad. There are 2 that really stick out for me of times that it was just dad and me at the Island.
I remember that the camp house that my grandfather built needed a new roof put on it and somehow I, at the time thought I had drawn the short straw that day, I think that my older brother was in college and working doing a summer intern type deal and my younger brother was just too young. But I remember we spent a whole day there putting aluminum sheeting on the camp house and it being a particularity hot day and the fact that every hour or so we would take a break by either taking a dip in the river or I think we may have even hauled the boat there and dad would take me out for a trip on the skis.But either way I remember that it was not all work and we finished the roof...basically it was dad up on the hot roof and me down on the ground handing him stuff and doing what I could to help which I really don't remember being much because at the time I had this thing about heights.
The second time that really sticks out was time we had to replace the runners on the boat trailer. I think this was one of the first times I actually got to drive the boat by myself because dad had to take the trailer to the parking area on the other side of the Island so we could work on it. I mean that was like a rite of passage, being deemed responsible enough to handle the boat which my grandfather owned and considered a prized possession, if even for a short time. I know for a fact that this time I got to go skiing and I think it was one of the first times I tried skiing on one ski.
Another Island memory I have was we were staying over night at the island but dad had to go with mom to her high school reunion and all I can remember is that some friends of my aunt's were staying with us and for some reason ( I think dad said he might come back that night) I insisted on staying up until he came back...I don't know I was young and I was a daddy's boy...sue me. Apparently I did the same thing when me and my younger brother had to stay with my grandparents (mom's) and I kept my grandparents up half the night because I wanted dad.
My dad was very supportive of me and my brothers. One area was with the Boy Scouts, now if I remember right my dad was in Scouts but never really got far in the ranks, but as me and my brothers got old enough we were in the scouting programs. I remember when my older brother was a Boy Scout, my dad and I would also go on the camping trips and we would sleep in the back of the Suburban (other Suburban stories at a later date perhaps) even when there were feet of snow on the ground. Even though all three of us achieved the rank of Eagle, he was only around to see 2 of us gain that prestigious award but I know he was of all three of us and our Scouting accomplishments.
Originally I was only was going to talk about the two memories from the Island but just remembering those has brought a flood of memories back so I went ahead a recounted the others while they are fresh in my mind.
I think I shared a special bond with my dad. Like myself he was the middle child of his family and I think, although I never got to ask him, that we also shared a similar experience of living in the shadow of the first born. My older brother is uber smart and I look up to him (he may just be finding this out) and my dad's older sister is a doctor. Again I am just making assumptions here but I like to think he knew what I was going through growing up and having to not necessarily compete but have the benchmark set high. I think the hardest part losing my dad when I did was the fact that I was just getting to that point in life where he not only was my parent but a best friend I felt I could confide in or feel like I could come to with any problem that I might have and get a another male perspective. I think the first time I started to feel this way was when he and I were putting carpet in my dorm room my freshman year. That weekend he came up to get me and noticed that me and my roommate were using a sleeping bag as a makeshift carpet. He mentioned that there was some carpet in the basement of the office and that we would bring it back and cut it for the room. That Sunday evening we spent a good hour or so measuring and cutting carpet and making an attic over the door and between the two closets. I think that was the first time I without thinking about it gave him a hug without thinking about it and thanking him for everything,
When we were home when my grandfather passed away my older brother found copies of the following picture:
I guess it is a yearbook picture of my dad, anyway I use it as a bookmark so when ever I open the book to read there he is. I really miss him especially around times of the year like this and often wonder why God saw it fit to take him when he did I mean on one hand he didn't have to suffer the things that come along with old age but he still had many good years ahead of him...just something I have a hard time reconciling with my limited human perspective I guess. Yes, he is in a better place but he is sure missed here. I think that he and his parents are up in heaven looking down on the rest of us in the family and watching over us and are proud of what me and my brothers have made out of the lessons he taught us while he was here.