Three years ago this morning, my parents and brother were happily awaiting the arrival of my youngest brother.  It was the birthday of the arriving brother.  My dad and my brothers went fishing and then went to the house for dinner.  My dad choked on an artichoke and died.  Who would have guessed that such a happy day would turn so tragic.  I will never forget the phone call that I received that night.  I have loved and lived through many men in my life but only two stand out – my dad and my great husband.  For all of my life, my dad was my very best friend and loved me no matter unconditionally.  Even though I miss him every day, I am very fortunate to have found my great husband and BFF. 

He was born January 5, 1921 to parents who had, a few years before, immigrated to the States from Denmark.  He grew up on a small farm in a community of loggers in Enumclaw, WA with three brothers.  In 1939 he joined the army and was sent to Italy.  After his return he married my mother in 1950 and I was born in December of 1953 and my brother in May of 1956.  He drove for Greyhound busline for 15 yrs.  In 1960, our family moved from Olympia, WA to Sacramento, CA.  It took him a long time to find a decent paying job and we ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches!  He finally got with the local Teamsters and was able to buy a home.  Soon after, my younger brother was born in 1966.  In the spring of my senior year of high school, the truck that he was loading rolled away from the dock while he was on the connecting plate in a forklift.  He had 2 broken vertebrae and was unable to work for over a year while wearing a back brace.  He was very happy to get back to driving trucks again after that.  He retired in the early 80’s and he and my mom moved to Clearlake, CA where he spent as much time as could fishing on the pier or out in his boat.  Then the Alzhiemer’s set in and he had to give up the boat time because he had such a hard time remembering where his dock was.  Over the years the Alzhiemers and being diabetic got worse – he couldn’t remember he was diabetic and that caused many problems.  I do not know if he really remembered who I was.  He acted as though he did and I wanted very much to believe that he knew who I was.  The last time that I saw him was the summer before he died.  I told him that I loved him and that he was a great dad.   Even though it embarrased the hell out of him, I am very glad that I took the time to do it – never knowing that it would be the last time that I would be able to tell him.

Even though I miss him terribly, I love him enough to know that his time on this world was not quality time anymore.  I am glad that he is in a better place and I know that he will always be with me.  The father-daughter relationship I had with him makes me a better person and he will live on forever in me and in my children.

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This in the pic that he always carried of me in his wallet

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He used to sing “Swinging on A Star” to me all the time when I was a young child.  His favorite sing was Bing Crosby and it was one of his hit songs.  This song is for you, Dad –

Would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a mule

A mule is an animal with long funny ears
Kicks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny but his brain is weak
He’s just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
And by the way, if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule

Or would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a pig

A pig is an animal with dirt on his face
His shoes are a terrible disgrace
He has no manners when he eats his food
He’s fat and lazy and extremely rude
But if you don’t care a feather or a fig
You may grow up to be a pig

Or would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a fish

A fish won’t do anything, but swim in a brook
He can’t write his name or read a book
To fool the people is his only thought
And though he’s slippery, he still gets caught
But then if that sort of life is what you wish
You may grow up to be a fish
A new kind of jumped-up slippery fish

And all the monkeys aren’t in the zoo
Every day you meet quite a few
So you see it’s all up to you
You can be better than you are
You could be swingin’ on a star

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