Sunday, June 19, 2016

Courage, Part I

Courage, sometimes you don’t know just how much you possess until you need it.  I learned about courage from both of the dads in my life. 
My dad, Jack.  Not too many pictures of him and none ever captured him smiling

My dad growing up on a ranch in Montana
 I grew up the daughter of a bricklayer and in the construction trade, it is ether feast or famine.  So basically we grew up very poor and always moving to follow work.  I didn’t much like my childhood with its chaotic transient style life. I wanted normal, a dad who went to work at a job in morning and returned home at night with mom who stayed at home and did those mom things like be a Sunday school teacher and 4H leader.  Instead we were sort of like gypsies who traveled in a 10x50 mobile home following the next lead of promising work. Mom had to work to help support us.  Later explained to me by my dad, (Jack), he felt stifled in the old mining town where he and my mom grew up, so he mustered up his courage to move his young family on a quest for a better life.  My dad is a good man and loved us in his quiet way, but he has always been a loner, rarely smiling and sort of an intense man. He was brilliant in his work life. He encouraged those around him to unleash their true potential and seek out that creative spirit.  He truly fits the “artistic” profile.  Before his stroke took away his livelihood, he was an artist in stonework.  There are masons and then there are masons who transform stone into an artwork.  He was the latter.  From him I learned the value of a good work ethic and our lifestyle forced me to always land on my feet in any given situation.  A life lesson that I continue to draw upon as well, my life seems to emulate a roller coaster sometimes.

Left, my step-dad, Doug talking with my former father-in-law, Andy. This is a favorite picture of mine, these two old geezers solving the world's problems
My other dad, Doug married my mom when I was about 20, and it was from him that my brothers and I learned about family time.  Of course, I always thought I was his favorite, and he would put up with my antics. Such as every single croquette game we played at their ranch-ette, I’d grab my brothers and together we’d design a not-so-normal course by carefully placing the metal brackets in front of horse or cow turds, thereby dubbing our game “barnyard croquette”……. Plus it was an “extreme course” in their pasture and the game wound its way over creek beds, over their covered bridge  and under propane tanks.  So guess a word to the wise, don’t let me loose especially where my brothers are involved – because who knows what will happen. As I look back, it was a magical time in our lives and treasured memories will always live in my mind.  We enjoyed many BBQ’s and being the only vegetarian in the family, Doug would always ask me, “how do you like your steak?  Of which I’d reply “on someone else’s plate”  - it was a ritual.  Every holiday was spent with my mom, step-dad and my side of the family.  He truly loved us and to him we were his kids.  Late in life he was diagnosed with bone cancer, and he would never concede he had it, fighting to the very end.  It was when I was with him and witnessed his last rite, that the thought struck me, while he could have bought almost anything he wanted, but in the end it’s not the money that brings happiness, it’s the memories made from a life well lived.  From him I learned about the kind of fatherly love and about the kind of courage it takes to fight till the end, no matter the odds.  

With that, I wish you a Happy Father’s Day.  

As always, thank you for stopping by and feel free to email me at as I love to hear from you.  All my best, Gayle