Upon meeting my father, few people would have very many things to say. He's quiet, introspective, and he generally keeps his thoughts to himself about most matters. As time goes by, however, and one gets to know him, he lets you into his world. I have inherited from him his way of thinking, his sense of humor, and apparently his legs. Witness:
Our family dog passed away in his sleep a few weeks before my wedding in May. His name was Augie, and he was quite the character. We spent his lifetime adoring that dog as a family, but he was without a doubt Dad's dog first and foremost. Here is a picture of Augie from the summer before he died:
(The bundle of ET sleeping bag at the bottom of the photo is my brother's friend Justin. He had had a rough night out.)
On October 29th, I ventured north of Shawano to visit with my father's mother. We chatted for about an hour about the various pros and cons to Walmart, and how it compares to the tiny Lakewood store she shops at. (Apparently, there isn't much of a comparison for a lady with a cane, Walmart is an evil, giant conglomerate with way too many aisles.) We also chatted about prescription medications. (By the way, mad props to the woman who birthed my father for being eighty and only relying on two medications.) That's what I love about working in the pharmacy; when in doubt, always talk to the elderly about their medicine. It soothes the savage beast. Not that my grandma is a beast. Well, not really. (Someone do me a favor and go to Bruce's site and ask him about the 'egg-bake'. He'd love to explain.) Here is a picture featuring my grandma, my father, and me:
After the rendez-vous with my grandma, I went up to our land to pick up my mom and visit with my dad for a little while. We were standing around the fire (in Wisconsin, it's not 80 fucking degrees like it is here in Missouri in NOVEMBER), and during a lull in conversation, I glanced at the woods around me. I happened to notice that the rock (the rock under which is buried our family dog Jack, who was hit by a car before we had Augie) had some new adornments. Before then, it had been the resting place for Jack's collar, and now its been decorated further.
I've always been the type of person who lavishes my dog with affection and toys. Before I was old enough to have a job, I used to dig around my room for old stuffed animals to treat Augie with when the old ones wore out (not that I didn't try to ressurect them, I sure as hell did). But after I was earning my own money, I bought him dog toys that squeaked when he chewed them, that sort of thing. I might not have, but he loved them so much that he couldn't be without them. It warmed my heart, it did.
On this visit to the land, there were two more additions to the stone. One was the racoon I'd bought Augie last Christmas, and the other was one of Kitty/Otis's toys.
I cried, of course, but it was mostly out of pure love for my dad, who may be a little quiet at first, but who loves with all his heart, who understands, who didn't want our treasured pets to be without their favorite things. Who wanted them remembered. I love you, Dad.