Friday, March 8

Almost a Happy Birthday

Today would have marked the 65th birthday of my Dad, if he were still alive. Over the past 28 years, the memories I still have of him in my life have faded somewhat. Many are fuzzy, and some are just more of a feeling than others. I don't get over sentimental about today, though, I admit in certain pass years I seemed more depressed on this day, or around this date, than other years. This year, I don't find my self feeling bad about Dad not being here still. Though, I am a bit heavy-hearted about my FIL's passing away.

I've been trying to come up with a memory of time with my Dad to share with you today. One that isn't too personal, but yet reminiscent of the time we had together. There are always bits that keep popping up in my mind, but no particular story to go with them.

Back when we were bachelors, Dad & I, before he remarried, we had a few "hobbies" we liked to partake of. In the nicer weather times, we would often spend most of a Saturday afternoon on his motorcycle, cruising whatever direction called to us. At times it felt we had been on every country road and highway in the Clinton County and surrounding areas. Trips via farm roads towards Kokomo, or Monticello, were common. Sometimes we would just head north through Logansport, Rochester, through some of the Amish area around Wakarusa, to visit my grandparents, uncles and aunts in Elkhart.

When we weren't on the motorcycle on the nice days, we probably were fishing. While living in Kirklin, we fished the reservoir at Cicero. We also had a nice spot by this bridge on a county road I can't remember the number of, where we could fish in Sugar Creek. Once we moved into Frankfort though, we found some place new. There was a couple man-made lakes about 10 miles out, that they would charge like $3 a day per pole. If I remember right, it was called B&B Lakes. They weren't large, but they stocked them well. Many a weekend we would pay the extra to camp overnight in the tent there, cat fishing in the dark hours with the bells clipped to our pole ends. One year when I was in scouts, trying for a hiking merit badge, we even planned out a 10-mile hike that ended there. Carrying our packs stuffed with our camping gear, MREs, fishing tackle. Dad had served in the Army (Vietnam '68-'69) so he literally out marched me there. That hike was spent doing civic duty as well, as we collected tin and aluminum cans from the roadside. When we returned home, a magnet would help us sort them, then send to a recycling center for a few dollars. Also about that time I had a beer can collection and was able to add a few to it.

I always had a great time fishing with Dad. He taught me about how to tie hooks on the line, that to not bother catching carp because of the mud vein, how to hold the barbs on a catfish so you didn't 'stick' yourself when getting the hook out. we would sit there watching our lines/bobbers and he would eventually start telling me stories of his younger days, or occasionally one of his war stories. We would make plans about where we would like to ride to on our next trip, about family, and racing. The Indianapolis 500 was the first race I ever attended. It was 1978, and two of my uncles had driven down from Elkhart the night before. We lived in Kirklin then. I remember staying up most the night learning to play poker with the men, using chips, and then the seemingly long walk at the track. We sat on the inside track on the grass. I recall seeing pictures years later that Dad had taken at that race. I don't have them now though. I fell in love with Formula 1 racing back then. Now it has moved on to Nascar, as I don't care much for the open wheel racing much anymore. I was back a couple years ago to the 500 Museum, and though it had been remodeled since my first visit so many years ago, I still felt like the kid I was when Dad took me there. Even did the ride around the track. That was something.

Enjoy your Friday.


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