Thursday, January 28, 2010

For Pop

Six years have passed and this reminds me I’m getting older. It doesn’t seem like six years worth of stuff has happened in that timeframe. But looking back, more than enough actually has occurred both in my life and the lives of my family to encompass more than six years. It has been six years since the passing of my father due to cancer. I just want to take a moment to honor all those we have known who have lost their battle to cancer. It is a disease that affects not only those carrying it, but their friends and family long after they have passed. The trauma endured emotionally and psychologically is something that can’t be expressed easily nor should it be. Loss is one of the most telling signs we are human, we mourn those who have passed on and do our best to honor and remember what they taught us. So Dad here’s to you…

When I was a boy no more than six or seven I remember my dad had a Volkswagen Beatle, it must have been from the early 70’s, in fact I remember that it still ran on standard lead based fuel. I remember it sitting near the street next to the sidewalk and I was running around being an idiot as always, I think I was playing hide and seek. From who I don’t recall, perhaps it was simply my imaginary friend at the time I was hiding from. (He was a scary bastard full of teeth and claws. Not what you imagine a seven year old has for an imaginary friend, but I didn’t pick him he chose me.) I ran behind the car and I can remember thinking that dad always worked on this part of the car and was always touching things back there. So being the copy cat I was decided I should emulate my father and mess around with the engine as well. Lucky for him I didn’t know how the latch worked on that old car. Unlucky for me though the tailpipe was exposed and without understanding the workings of a combustion engine I didn’t realize the tail pipe would be blazing hot from the exhaust. Needless to say my exploratory nature led me to grab the tailpipe and burn the hell out of my hand. Screams and sobs erupted out of me, but before I knew it Dad was there looking my hand over. Seeing that I really wasn’t too damaged, (in fact I didn’t even have any blistering) he let me know I would be ok. We ran cold water over my hand and put ice on it and we had a conversation. I remember him explaining how the engine worked and that the tailpipes allowed the heat and exhaust fumes to be expelled from the spent fuel. The lesson I remember the most though is he said “Son, parts of the rear are always hot when they’ve been turned on.” This lesson I learned applies to more than just cars later on. I’m lucky he never caught me grabbing another kind of tail now that I think about it. Though I’m sure he would have had something to say about that too which I would have found funny. Dad we all miss you and try our best to carry on remembering the good things and not the bad. I’ll always remember the way you always did your best to be the best father you could be, even when your dumbass son decided to grab a tailpipe.

For those who have lost someone I hope each of you takes a moment to remember that which makes them special to us.


  1. I had a similar episode, but mine was a blazing hot coleman lantern. It was one of those famous royal ranger campouts -- amazing none of got killed on those things -- and I was just a pioneer. I saw the coleman lantern on the ground glowing brightly, and I thought to myself: "I wonder how hot the top of that thing is?" Well, stupid (me) decided to place his left palm flat on the top of that thing. My hand was there less than a second, but it gave me a 2nd degree burn. I hid from Dad because I thought he would be mad, but he noticed me trembling off to the side, clenching ice, and fighting back the tears. When he asked me what had I happened, naturally I lied: "I tripped on a tent cord and landed on the lantern," is what I said. I doubt he believed me, but he wasn't mad, nor did he make fun of my obvious lie. Instead, he took me back into town to get some burn cream and bandages. (Yeah, that's right, our brilliant royal ranger commanders didn't have a general first aid kit.) Anyway, that crazy burn blistered up for weeks on end! Oh, the misadventures we had! Oh to have just one more . . .

  2. Man, you guys are lucky to have such fond memories of your father. To live one day, when I cried and my father heard me or be there period..... I feel lucky to have known someone that has felt that kind of love. Thank You for sharing guys.