Dad and I bonded by doing stuff together. Neither of us talked very much because, well frankly, we didn’t share philosophical or political opinions like most fathers and sons did. It was a civil war whenever we had an opinion on something. It’s what happens when a conservative Republican lives under the same roof as a liberal Democrat. Anymore, though, my politics has mellowed a bit and I’m thinking maybe he wasn’t as loony as I originally assumed by some of his beliefs.
So by stuff, I’m talking fishing and hunting, and before that we took trips in his Triumph that I helped him rebuild when I was but nine and ten years old. Dad was also a volunteer firefighter and I used to hang out at both the Douglas County District 2 and later, the Benton County District 4 stations and listen to the other volunteers talk of things that guys liked to talk about when not in the company of their wives.
When I was old enough I too joined the fire department, following in his footsteps because in my mind I felt it was expected that a son does things like that to show respect for their father. I realized later that joining the same groups, clubs, and the like, isn’t about that. I thought it was, but I was wrong. Later in life Dad tired of those things that once interested him, such as the fire department, the Elks and Moose Clubs, and finally life itself.
After my stroke I didn’t think I could hunt anymore, so didn’t even bother. I fished still, yet Dad was never very lucky at fishing like I was. It came to me then as now that what he really wanted from me was company; someone to hang around with and talk about things when not in the company of my mom and his wife.
Happy Father’s Day