Sunday, July 20, 2008

Unhappy Aniversary

One year ago today, July 20, 2007 the world lost a truly great man.

This man was a retired veteran of the United States Navy, having served aboard an aircraft carrier during the time of the Korean War. The skills he learned in the Navy, along with an upbringing that instilled the value of an honest day's work would ultimately propel him to a very successful career in the California Department of Forestry.

This man would meet a beautiful young woman who he would later ask to marry him. This would prove to be one of the best decisions of his young life. They would share some fifty years of marriage and raise three boys along the way. As one would expect in any marriage of that length, there were a few bumps along the way, but through it all they remained faithful to each other and deeply in love to the end. His wife still maintains a residence in the Pacific northwest and spends her time volunteering with youth in the court system and watching her nine grand children grow.

This man's oldest son, who bares the same name as his father, eventually followed in his dad's footsteps by joining up with CDF many years ago. He is currently in his last year on the job overseeing a convict crew, cutting fire lines throughout the hills and mountains of California. In February he will trade in his shovel and chain saw for an iced tea and a table saw as he retires and enjoys long days in his woodworking shop. If you look closely at the sky, you can just about see the man looking down at his eldest son with a beam of pride watching his accomplishments through the years.

This man's middle son was always something of a rebel, maybe not a black sheep of the family, but more like dark gray one. Although he did work for one summer in CDF, the rigid structure of that environment didn't suit his style. As this middle son approached the teenage years, the man's hair turned from black to gray as he watched his son grow from a boy to a man. Through all the wild times however, the love the two had for each other never diminished one bit.

This man's youngest son, (by far the best looking of the bunch), would also find a beautiful woman to marry and later begin the process of raising two boys of his own. He would learn first hand the values his father placed in him, like dedication, honesty, hard work, determination, trust and a host of others. He would watch with great delight as his dad engaged with his own boys, remembering the days of his youth. Some of the lessons his dad tried to teach him so many years before now seemed so clear to him. There was admittedly more than one occasion he wished he could go back and learn them the first time through, but alas, life does not always give us that luxury. This youngest son would vow to raise his children with the same amount of love and integrity that his father had.

So just who is this man that I speak of? Are you wondering who in Hollywood might have passed away a year ago? Maybe he was a political figure that brought great change to the world? Perhaps he was a legendary sports figure that was idolized by fans everywhere?

Well, I'm quite sure you didn't read about his days on Earth in the papers or see his face on the television, let alone the big screen. If you'd seen him at a baseball stadium, it wouldn't have been on the field, instead he would have blended right in with the crowd, sitting there in the stands with his family. As far as politics were concerned? He did meet and shake hands with President Ford once, but that was about as close to the White House as he ever cared to be.

This man was a true hero of mine, a legend to me. He was larger than life and he was always the one I wanted to be growing up. No, to find this man you would have had to look no further than our living room. This man was my father.

There are a million stories I could share with you about the times we spent together, but for now I'm going to keep them tucked away in my own heart. Perhaps that a bit selfish, but today I need those memories to hold me up. I've shed a few tears as I've written this, and I'm sure more will fall before the day is done. That's ok though, it's just part of the process I guess. If I didn't have have such fond memories of my dad, then the tears wouldn't come, and that would be far worse.

I know not everyone is as fortunate as I to have had such a great roll model in their life. For that I'm truly sorry. I can only share my story and hope that it in some way it helps fill a void in your heart.

If you do have your parents still with you, consider picking up the phone or getting in the car and going for a visit. I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.

I love you dad!

34 comments:

Bond said...

PERFECTION JEFF!

Thank you so much...you brought a tear to my eye as I read. Of course, I immediately had an idea of who I was reading about...

I still have my Mom and dad as you know, and Sunday's are the day we always talk (some weeks we speak during the week also)...but always Sundays!...It is like as kids, the big Sunday meal where we all shared.

Thanks again for sharing with us

CrystalChick said...

What a beautiful tribute to a fine man. And to have a son like you would make any father proud.
Of course you will shed a few tears and it's so important to honor all your feelings as you miss and remember times you and your family had with him.
Our loved ones certainly do live on in our hearts after they have passed from the earth.
Thanks for sharing.
Peace, Mary

Jeni said...

From reading your blog and also, your brother Gene's, I think I can understand completely what kind of man your Dad was -and a lot of kudos go to your Mom too -for having raised two great writers (don't know about your middle brother, ya know) at least. And from reading both blogs, I think I can also say your Dad evidently gave you guys one terrific role model for how to develop into a strong, stable, loving and caring man. Very good tribute to your father, your mentor.

Travis said...

Those memories are incredibly special and should be kept close. I think by now we know enough of you from reading your words here. We see your dad in you, and we realize what a special man he must have been.

Thanks for sharing these words today. Your dad had every reason to be proud of you.

nitebyrd said...

Jeff, that was beautiful. I think every parent wants to know that they did right by their children and that they knew they were loved, then loved in turn. Your father apparently did really well. I just know he was as proud of you as you are of him.

My own father died 48 years ago, I still love and miss him. Your post gave me smiles and tears. Thank you.

Dana said...

... and I shed a few reading it. What a wonderful tribute to your father Jeff - I have no doubt he touched the lives of many.

Anndi said...

Dearest Jeff,

I'll admit to shedding more than a few tears as I read this, and you know why. I waited for a quiet moment to visit today as I share some of your grief with you. I'm also confident I share your family's pride in you and I am so very thankful fate put you in my path.

Love you my friend, yup, I said it, love. I have never been in your physical presence, but I know enough of you that you are in my heart.

HUGS

Starrlight said...

What a beautiful post, Jeff, ya made me get all teary.

mjgolch said...

Jeff, what a fine tribute to your Father. I know that you and your other Brothers have made him proud of his sons!
It just begs to ask which one are you the middle or the youngset. I do believe that Gene is the oldest som. for I have read his blogs many times as I have yours. I lost my Dad in 1984 he was only 58. He was a WW2 vet,who served in the US Army Air Force.I lost mom in 2003. I miss them both. asi know that you miss your Dad. Hugs and Blessings to you and your brothers on this unhappy anniversary.
Now I will go wipe the tears from my eyes.

Jeff B said...

Bond- That's so cool that you all still get together on a regular basis. Thanks

Crystalchick- "Living in our hearts" is a perfect way to describe it. Thank you

Jeni- I am blessed that both of my parents were and are a part of my whole life. Thank you

Travis- Thanks man.

Nitebyrd- Two nights before he died, I was able to have a long talk with him and tell him what a great father he'd been to me and how much I loved and admired him. We both knew his time was short and I really wanted him to hear those words one more time. Thank you

Dana- He did indeed. There were many friends who looked at him as a father figure too. Thanks

Anndi- When I started writing on this blog months ago, I never dreamed I'd meet such warm and wonderful people. Friends like you are a treasure to me and I thank the good Lord for introducing us. Chin up now and let's reflect on all the great memories shall we?

Love you too Anndi!

Starlight- Thanks for coming by.

MJ- I'm the youngest, hence the reference to being the best looking. (had to lighten the mood there) Gene and I have another brother, Mark, who is two years younger than Gene and Five years older than me.

Thanks for the kind words.

Jay said...

That was a beautiful tribute! Very well done and very touching.

Dianne said...

It is so wonderful and dear when good memories and fine role models get passed down.

I imagine you to be an amazing Dad to your boys, clearly you learned from the best.

You're a good kid Jeff.

buffalodickdy said...

ely written, and well said! When I was bought up- you either loved your Dad or not. My Dad epitomizes the song by Harry Chapin... "The Cats In The Cradle." A good man, making a living . I think your your dad was more. I bet he was, by how you feel about him. But a guy, trying to do his best, with a family, with the love I pick up on here- that is quite amazin' love.. He did good! May He Always Rest In Peace. The Buf..

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

So you are the youngest one. Had to slip your great sense of humor in. What a wonderful tribute to a great father. Not everyone has one like you and your siblings were fortunate to have. Beautiful. Big hug. :)

Gene Bach said...

Hey, I remember that guy too. I am sorry that he is no longer around for sure. I'll bet he would haved LOVED to see Sarah in her brand new CDF uniform wouldn't he?

Additionally, you are the ugliest one of us brothers and I am the good looking one. You ARE a far bigger loser than I.

Ron said...

I know that your Dad looks down at you and just beams with PRIDE!

Not only because of the beautiful words that you share here in his memory, but also because of the wonderful man that YOU are Jeff!

I'm so happy that our paths have crossed.

I feel very blessed in knowing you!

Thank you for this post.

Peace, buddy!

Rhea said...

What a wonderful post, Jeff!

Your dad sounds like a wonderful person. This was soo touching and sweet.

Thank you for sharing your hero with us. :o)

buffalodickdy said...

If you feel this way, I wish I could have met him- he must have been great.

david mcmahon said...

Jeff, what a marvellous, heartwarming tribute.

Thank you.

Jeff B said...

To Everyone- Thank you for for taking the time to write your kind words. they really healped. As much as I wasn't looking forward to yesterday, it was all in all ok. Went over to mom's house and spent the day with her, then she took us out to dinner in the evening.

Sandi McBride said...

What a beautiful tribute to a great man who apparently did what all good father's do, brought up his children to be good and decent men. Well written, Jeff. Navy men, they're really something!
Sandi

Odat said...

I'm typing this thru my tears.....wow!
That was moving......sounds like the world lost a great man.......but he's got another one in you to carry on.......Be good to yourself...
Peace

Jules~ said...

That is a wonderful tribute to your father Jeff. I am so glad that you have so many memories and stories of truth trust courage and character to hold in your heart.
God's peace and comfort be with you and your family.

jennifer said...

Came here by way of the TRUE handsome Brother, Gene.

I am so sorry for your loss BUT, thankful that you had a Dad like that to mourn. What an amazing man!

Take Care Jeff.

Jen

Gene Bach said...

Listen to Jennifer Jeff...she's RIGHT!!!!

Kathryn said...

What a beautiful tribute post! You are indeed lucky to have had such a dad. It is clear how much you miss him.
Beautiful post.

Here from David's.

Jeff B said...

Jennifer- You have obviously never seen a picture of my brother!

Bwahahahaha

Gene- How much did you pay her?

Everyone (except Gene)- Again, thank you. You all are the the best.

CrazyCath said...

A beautiful tribute, not only to your dad, but to your relationship with him.
Respect to you.

Talisman said...

*hugs* Jeff. Very wonderful post.

Matt-Man said...

Great post and tribute Jeff. My dad has been gone much longer than yours and I still miss the guy. Nicely done. Cheers!!

Kimmie said...

Dear Jeff,

I am moved beyond words after reading such a beautiful tribute to your father. You certainly are your father's son. Bless your heart.

Today is the second anniversary of the passing of my mother. Days like this are difficult. Sweet memories are a gift.

Hugs Jeff,
Kimmie

Raven said...

This is a beautiful tribute to your father. How lucky you are to have had such a wonderful parent and to have had such a great relationship with him. My own parents were good people who meant well and did a fair amount of harm. I loved them deeply and miss them still almost 20 years after they are gone. You may not know that also 20 years ago my older sister, one of the best people ever to grace the planet, was murdered in a random act of violence. She was the first member of my immediate family to die and maybe because of how she died, I made a decision to use the anniversary of her death each year to do something life affirming in celebration of who she was/is in my life. I has helped me greatly to deal with the anniversary in that way. This tribute to your father is just such a thing, I think. Sorry I'm rambling on so. I'm sorry for your loss, but glad that you had such a wonderful father who lives on in you.

Mel said...

k....made me cry.

I'm so glad you got an opportunity to love and be so loved......

*hugs*

katherine. said...

making me all weepy too....

I remember when Gene wrote about your Dad. wow...was that a year ago? That man and his beautiful (psycho??) wife raised at least two great sons and fathers!

I admit right now it scares me to think about losing a parent....but I am blaming these tears on your post....smile.