And so my obsession begins. I’m sure this points out my narcissism, or self loathing (yet to be diagnosed). How many of you check your stats monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, or by the minute. I’m a daily guy so far. That means I’ve checked it three times! Fill me in on your obsession. Doesn’t have to be this. It could be scrap booking, crafts, killing hookers, or watching monkeys do it on YouTube! Leave a comment. I’ll reply!!!
We all have stories about the first time we kissed, drove, got in a fight, or fell in love. This is a story about one of the many first I had in my life.
I was not what you would call a ladies man. Wasn’t because I was funny looking or smelled bad (I was funny looking and smelled bad but that wasn’t the reason). It was because I had better things to do than chase after girls. There were bigger fish to fry, literally. I wasn’t about to spend my money on a girl like my friends were. There were bullets and fishing lures to be bought.
My dad loved to hunt. No one taught him how, he just learned, for better or worse, on his own. He tried to share his love for the outdoors with my three older brothers, but they didn’t have the same passion for it as he did. By the time I came along I think he had lost hope of spending time in the woods with his sons like he had planned. I was different. I lived and breathed hunting and fishing. I would get off the school bus at 3:30pm after school. Grab a snack, a .22 rifle, or a fishing pole, or both. I would be gone till dark. Roaming the rolling hills and ponds of eastern Oklahoma, for that next trophy.
My dad was there when I shot my first squirrel over my first hunting dog. He was there when I caught my first four pound rainbow trout. There when I got my first wild turkey. Was there when I trapped my first coon. He was there when I caught my first striped bass. But as a kid I didn’t see those things. I saw the things he missed. My high school graduation, my graduation from basic training, and many more moments like these.
I carried great resentment because of these things he missed. Because he never held my hand, he never hugged me, never told me he loved me, never told me he was proud of me. Had it not been for my mom. I would have never returned after I left home.
I believe I would have never spoken to him again.
My brothers and sisters (eight of us total) always claimed I was his favorite. I never believed them. Never knew why they said such a thing. I was there, I knew how he didn’t care to show up or say those words that would have meant the world to me.
About two years before my mom passed away. She told me that after sixty years of being married to my dad, he told her for the first time that he loved her. This was news to me! I had assumed that he had told her many times! How do you get married to someone without those feelings being discussed first? When I asked her this, she said, “he didn’t need to tell me he loved me, I knew.” Well, this didn’t compute. I thought about this many, many, times. I came to understand the truth about my dad gradually.
He grew up in a time were men didn’t cry, say “I love you”, or hug. He grew up hard and tried to rise above it. He didn’t have a caring father to teach him how to be one. But he knew how it felt to be alone inside. Even with a loving wife, seven semi wonderful kids, and one amazing kid (that’s me). He still felt alone. He once told me “never get attached to people, the will only leave you.”
Now as a parent myself I can look back on all those things and see them in a different light. Learning about his childhood. I now understand why he wasn’t there for those big moments. He didn’t know how to deal with those overwhelming emotions. He wasn’t about to cry in public.
He was there for all those moments he could handle. He was there even when he didn’t show up for the moments he couldn’t handle. He was there because he loved me. He loved us kids our entire lives. He loved me, long before the first time I felt it.
As a young boy growing up in eastern Oklahoma. My mom bought me a subscription to Field & Stream. That 1st magazine that came in the mail is the 1st magazine I read cover to cover, including the adds! Reading those stories about the successes and failures in the woods and on the lakes, captivated a easily distracted boy.
Those tales about the giants of the northern lakes and streams. The images of those men in canoes holding massive Northern Pike, well, those fish seem like more than fish to me. They were adventure, they were life lived, they were the dream for this young Okie.
I would sit in math class day dreaming about boiling, frothing water at the end of my line. About slender, sleek green torpedoes attacking and launching themselves skyward with all the fury they could muster. I would dream about holding this warrior of the…
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I arrived in Germany in December of 1989. It was my 1st dance with jet lag. Having never been out of the country and only out of Oklahoma twice, I thought something was horribly wrong! Had I been poisoned? Was it the airline food? Had a fellow passenger been the carrier of some unknown, rare parasite from the dark continent? I was a 22 year old hillbilly from the foothills of the Ozark mountains, what did I know! But soon I learned about jet lag. I WAS GOING TO LIVE!
The first time you leave home in a big way for an indefinite amount of time, it’s hard on a person. I don’t care how great a place is. You get home sick, desperately home sick. It takes a while, about six months in my case. I finally settled in and started living! Four years total in Germany. Lots of photos, but I only had a $30 35mm camera and not the first clue as how to take a decent picture. But I did manage a few good ones. I’ll share them on here for your viewing pleasure. Some have stories, some don’t. I hope you enjoy them all!