Thursday, November 11, 2021

My Father

My father passed away this week, joining my mother. His health has been fading since his love of 70 years passed. He passed peacefully with his favorite nurse at his side, in the middle of the night.  

During my life he was a Wisconsin State Trooper. He joined on a dare from his older brother who had joined in 1956, the next year my father joined the 6th recruit Class, badge #287.  He retired after 28 years. There were plenty of stories of my father as a Trooper. Most of what I remember is that he had friends in every little city, truck-stop, gas-station, etc. I never caught the skill of making friends that he had. 

I learned from my father (and mother) respect for others. I know that police do not have a good reputation today, and I suspect there were bad apples back then too. But I am confident of the stories I was taught regarding "perspective". I was taught to not judge someone by the first impression, to try very hard to look at their situation from their perspective. It is when you see their perspective you realize they are fighting trying times. This perspective exercise is what enables me to be comfortable with people that are "not like me", people who make life choices that I myself can't understand, people who are down on their luck and likely would benefit greatly from the smallest of help. Perspective is key, try to walk a mile in their shoes before you judge. 

I learned from my father work-ethic. He would work hard when doing a job, with appropriate breaks. But he would also reserve recreation time. And of course sleep.  He enjoyed odd-jobs, such as gathering up used tires to take them to the "re-tread" factory. We would fill the back of the pickup truck, nicely organized tires, three rows high. Learning how to get the rain water out of the tire without getting wet. I am sure this odd-job was never worth the income.

When I heard of his passing, I was relieved for him. I will miss the bi-weekly visits I had with him. I went for a walk, turned on classical music (my mothers favorite) and listened for sour-notes and clinkers (my father always would). Ended up sitting in a local church prayer garden, alone with the sunset.

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