Saturday, June 17, 2017

Fathers Day, How The Years Go By.

   Certainly, the man that has most influenced me in life has been my Father. Although he has been gone for 18 years, more so than ever, I hear his voice in my words, see his features in the mirror, his humor in my stories, and his swearing when things go sideways.
   He spent his formative pre-war years at the family's logging camp at the head of Harrison Lake, driving off-road logging trucks before taking over management of the old Abbotsford Lumber Co. and dabbling here and there in real estate, and the old family tradition of mineral exploration.
Over the years he flew small planes, shot clay-pigeons and golfed for fun.
   He retired earlier than most, about the time his ticker started giving him problems. He did alright in life although he never got rich. He said once that to make a million dollars you had to be prepared to step on some toes along the way, and it was not in his make-up.
   Not always patient with us kids in the early years, or so we all thought at the time, we all had a fear of him which we have come to see as nothing more than a respect for authority, just like he had growing up.
But inside the man was a huge soft-core.
   From the time I was quite young, I recall him taking me around town and being impressed that men respected him, and sought out his company, and to me he was ten feet tall.
It was a point of pride when  I grew older, walking into stores having the owner greet me an say,
"Your Bill's boy."
   He gave me the two best pieces of advice I ever got in life. One was in the early 1960's while watching ABC Wide World Of Sports one Saturday afternoon. There was a motorcycle race on, it was an uncommon event to be shown on TV then and I was riveted to the set and what appeared to be organized mayhem, a strange attraction forming in my nine year old head.
"You see that." he said, bringing me out my trance and pointing out the obvious,
"The riders that keep their feet on the pegs stay under control."
And they did too. It was advice that I never forgot and when I grew older, I always kept my feet on the pegs. Still.
That advice worked for a lot of life situations too I found along the way.
   An avid reader and history buff, in later years he was most often to be found with a good book in the recliner and a cat curled up on his lap, and often joked that he was just a warm spot for a cat to sleep.
   He died earlier than most, 10 years older than I am now. The last time I saw him was shortly before he left, and he gave me the other most valuable piece of advice I've ever had. He asked if I had been doing any writing.
I said I hadn't been doing much lately and kind of sloughed-off the question.
He looked me in the eye and said, "Jesus man, you got to write."
And those, were the last words he spoke to me.
 1956, me at 2, up on the Big Guy's desk at Abbotsford Lumber Co.

 1969, me at 15, Westwood racetrack.

1980, me at 26, Dad visiting the Yukon gold-mine.

2002, me at 48. He missed meeting his granddaughter Caitlin by a couple years.

   Anyways. Happy Father's Day Dad. I wish the bugger was still around. Just once more, I'd like a chance to sit down and ask a few more questions.
I know how I'll spend spend part of Fathers Day this year. 
Like a lot of days, there on the recliner, with a good book, and a cat curled on my lap. 
A warm spot for a cat to sleep.


  1. I love your post and there's a lot I can relate to. Nice to see the pictures as well. Your father was right, you have to write ;-)

    I wish you a nice and relaxing Father's Day!
    Say hello to the cats from me :-)

  2. Thank you for the story, one well told. Love from us, he beaton clan. We're camping out at a secluded spot in our tent trailer for Father's Day.

  3. G. Barry StewartJuly 26, 2017 at 9:20 PM

    A fitting tribute to your dad, Robin.

    It seems we're about the same age (born in '54?) — so we possibly were at Westwood at the same time, back in the day. My brother, our friends and I were volunteer corner crew workers for the motorcycle races in the early 1970s. Great times.