One of their favorite views!
It has been a tough year! Both of my parents passed away this year. Mom in February and dad in May. Mom was very unexpected and dad just couldn’t live with out her. The good thing is they are together and no longer suffering!
I also started a new position at work. It is the most stressful job I have ever had. Helping to manage the hunting department (specifically the gun counter) of a major outdoor store here in Portland and dealing with all the fallout from the very public resent shooting is enough to make a person drink for the wrong reasons.
My little girl with her boy.
My fifteen year old daughter has her first boy friend. I don’t know if I can handle her growing up! He is a great kid but still she is my little girl!
All that and more has made me reflect on a few things that my dad taught me (more by how he lived than by sitting me down and teaching). He was a hard working man. He worked long hours and odd shifts. He worked swing shift when I was very young which made starting school rough. My mom would let us stay up until dad got home. She did this for two reasons. One was so we could spend time with dad. The other was so we would let dad sleep and not wake him to early in the morning. Once we started school we didn’t see him much till summer break. At the time I didn’t understand. Now I know that as a man you do what you have to do to feed your family.
My brother Andy and my best friend Perry sitting around dads fire pit .
As we started high school he was able to get day shift and also didn’t have to work quite so many hours. We were able to spend more time together. We went fishing, camping and hunting more. We also had a sand rail and ATV’s and spent several weeks every year playing in the sand.
The time we spent sitting around the campfire with dad, grandpa and my uncles taught me a lot. We would sit for hours listening to stories (some I now know might have been embellished a little) about the one that got away and how the fish was this big! We would hear stories about place like Buck Mountain, High Ridge and many others. I would dream of someday going to these places with dad hunting with the family. I have now hunted these places many times and because of some of the lessons I learned from my dad so have my kids (They didn’t have to wait as long as I did. Both of my kids were in archery hunting camp before they were a year old.). We have spent many weeks up in the mountains of Eastern Oregon as well as on the Oregon Coast Hunting, camping and fishing.
Jonathan with a very proud grandpa!
My kids have had the pleasure of the stories around the campfire (some of which are now their own stories!).
Another of the things I learned around the campfire was how a man drinks. I remember my dad, grandpa and uncle Terry sitting in the big wall tent (that is not nearly as big as I remember) sipping on a glass of whisky, beer or wine after we were all done hunting for the day (never before the guns were put away for the night). They might sip on the same glass for hours. It was never the cheap stuff either(except for the wine). My dad was always a Scotch guy and Terry liked bourbon. I’m not saying that they never over indulged but they showed me that you didn’t have to and still have a good time enjoying an adult beverage (and still function early the next morning).
I had my first glass of wine in elk camp. I think I was in 8th grade. It was grandpa’s homemade plum wine. It was mixed with Seven Up. It made me feel like one of the guys not just the little kid in camp. My first beer was sitting by the campfire at Sand Lake a year or two later.
One of the last bottles dad and I shared a drink out of.
I can still remember my first taste of whisky. All the guys were sitting around the campfire late one night around Labor Day. A bottle (I think it was J. W. Dant Bourbon) was being past around and when it got to me uncle Terry asked if I wanted a shot? I looked at dad and he said it was okay (mom would have killed him by the way). It burned but in a good way.
A few years later I asked dad and Terry why they let me taste and drink when they did? They both gave me the same answer. We wanted you to be where we could keep an eye on you and not out with your friends doing something stupid and getting hurt.
One of their favorite views!
Scotch has become some thing that my dad and I shared a love for. My parents would have a big Christmas party every year. the whole family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else that we looked at as part of the family) would come. Dad would always go to liquor store and buy some cheap whisky and vodka for those that wanted mixed drinks and he would buy himself a bottle of Scotch. For a long time it was Chivas Regal. Later as I got older he got into some of the single malts. A few of his favorites were Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and Macallan. One year after I was out of high school I asked why he always bought such an expensive bottle. His answer was I would rather drink something straight that really like than to have to mix it with some thing to cover up the taste (which is another thing my dad taught me). That year he poured me a glass of that expensive bottle. Every year since we have shared a glass from one of those expensive bottles at Christmas.
His love of top shelf whisky instilled in me a desire to find the best. The best fishing spot. The best hunting grounds. The best food. The best beer. The best whisky/spirits. Like him I would rather drink something that I like straight than to have to cover it up with soda or fruit juice. The last few years I have taken a liking to Tequila. The same thing applies here. You can go cheap or you can spend a little more and get something that actually tastes good.
One of the places I wish I could have shared with dad!
My dad would drink a beer now and then but he never really cared for most of them. He liked MGD an not much else. I on the other hand like beer. I haven’t found one that I can say that I don’t like. There are some that I like more than others. But like I said I would rather have quality over quantity. I would take one or two really good beers over a case of cheap no flavor mass produced almost beers.
These are just a few things I learned from my dad. Work hard to take care of you family. Spend time with your kids. Take time to tell stories around a camp fire. Don’t settle. Enjoy the finer things in life with the people you love. And always be looking for your next favorite thing.