My dad was a hard-working man who always wanted the best for his family. He was also in charge of the punishment department. I never really understood why he was so strict until later on in life. He was a man that was always right, never wrong, and let my mother have the last word. That was a compliment to her, being no one else could ever get the last word. He loved to talk with people. Several times we would leave a store and get to the car and he would be missing. He was still in the store talking to the check-out clerk.
He loved HO scale trains so much that he would collect more than he had time to work on. He put together model ships, planes, played cards and loved to take pictures. As kids my dad would take us all camping as a family. We started with a tent and graduated to a camper and then a motorhome. He loved to travel. He would even collect road maps and plan trips that we never went on.
My dad loved Oregon. Four months out of the year my parents would visit and stay at their second home. My dad loved to go fishing and we would often fish at a lake he very much enjoyed. Our fishing trips gave me a chance to learn more about my dad from his times working on his dad's ice truck, his years in the service when he was in Japan to when he met my mother. She was the love of his life and always will be. As proof, he woke from his coma as my mom was talking to him. She gave him a kiss with the words "Hugs n Kisses" and after the kiss he took his last breath on this earth as we know it.
This last summer, my daughter Shannon and I went on an Alaskan cruise with my dad and mom. He always dreamed of salmon fishing and his dream finally came true. He caught five. My dad was a registered Democrat and I am running for office as a Republican. We would often pick on our affiliations with one another with the understanding that we loved one another.
Most people want to live to be 100 years of age so they can get a letter from the President. My dad left this world at 85, knowing that when you reach 100 you can't remember who the president is anyway. He left this world on his terms. The doctors first predicted he would not make it to the first of the year. Then they predicted the second week of January. What those doctors didn't realize is that he was in the military and was a postal worker. Those are the two areas in government with the longest lines. I will miss creating new memories with Dad and will always cherish the ones I have.