In June of 2013, we as a clan took our last vacation all together. I have some of the last pictures I ever took of my father in this group. I did take a few more at Christmas 2013, that was the last time I saw my dad. He was a grand man. It has taken me a long time to reconcile his life and his loss. I miss asking him questions. I still ask my mother the questions, she remains a guiding force in my life. But there were questions that for years I asked my grandfather. With his passing in 1996, I moved those questions to my father. He stepped up and always had an answer for me, as my grandfather before him. I won’t say that my dad’s answers for that matter my grandfather’s were the ones I wanted to hear.
I won’t paint my father with the brush of forgotten disagreements. I will not paint my father as a saint. My father I often disagreed. Our last big argument was about Indiana 69. I-69 was to be the highway that would split the state from the two largest cities, Indianapolis and Evansville. At the time of its beginning I-69, I felt that the 10 billion dollars to be spent, could be spent in so many better ways. Commuter rail would have far more efficient, far more productive. My father was all for it, and he and I argued. I would pluck those words from the air and recant them. Part of who my father was, part of who I am was the arguments he and I had. They started when I was 8 or 9 years old and continued until his death.
Gardening and mowing were often bones of contention between my dad and I. I hated lawn mowing more than anything except being forced to be in the garden. I would like to say that over time that changed, but it didn’t. I still do not like lawn mowing. It is why instead of 12 years old my twins didn’t mow until they were 15 years old. Even at 15, I mowed half the yard, and they, between them, split the other half. I don’t garden to this day. I probably should, but I don’t like growing things. But there are so many more things that I love because of my father than the two I dislike. I love weather technology because of my father. He gave me a circular slide rule when I was 14 that changed my life. He guided, and he loved. I miss him most in December. I was born on my parents fourth wedding anniversary. Close to Christmas, but also ruining that day forever for my parents. They never complained. I have often complained when my birthday was a Christmas afterthought. But my parents never did. I guess to quote the Irish phrase, they are both grand people.