The Second One

I’m sure there will come a time when I don’t know how many Father’s Days its been since my dad left this earth. But with this being only the second one where I wasn’t conspiring with my sisters on what he would like or picking out a goofy card to send to him, (which usually arrived late) I’m still counting them.

Not a day goes by that I don’t wake up to his smiling face by my keyboard as I begin my daily writing duties. And I’ve made it a habit to be a positive reflection, rather than a mournful feeling of loss. I got lucky. Not only because of the man and everything he taught me by example, but also for how long he stuck around. He was the last of his siblings to go when he died just three weeks shy of his 92nd birthday.

I remember at his wake how a childhood friend reminded me just how lucky I was. His dad had already been gone for 20+ years.

I can easily hop into the memory jalopy and flash back to those camping trips, the Little League games, going to church in our Sunday best, playing basketball with him in the driveway, hearing about the guys “at the field”, which was mechanic-talk for the gang he worked with at United Airlines. It seemed like he would always be there, but eventually, the years took a toll on his body.

I’m one of those people who have fully embraced the Amazon Echo (named Alexa) and it’s partially due to my dad. Towards the end of his life, his hearing was failing and if he didn’t understand you, instead of saying, “What?” he would just say, “OK.”  That became his default go-to expression.

Now, when I ask our Alexa to turn the living room light on, the lamp clicks on and she says, “OK.”  Time to turn it off, and after the instruction she replies, “OK.”

That’s fine, but just remember Alexa, that was Dad’s word first.

If your dad is still around, I’ll echo the words of Kelly Toman who reminded me just how lucky you are. You know what to do from here.

Happy Father’s Day Weekend!

Tim Hunter

It’s Bound To Be A Better August

August

When you think about it, August has always been a pretty good month over the years.

I mean, as a kid, it was prime summertime. With wading pools, slip ‘n slides, trips to the beach or a lake. Oh, sure, it’s when those pesky “Back to School” ads start showing up everywhere, but who pays attention to those? August is the last full month of summer, with 31 days jam-packed with “who the heck cares?”

Even as an adult, I’ve always been fond of the month. Being a Seattle Mariners fan, it was when I became free to start thinking about football. There are lots of fun celebrations around town including Seafair, The Evergreen State Fair, A Taste of Edmonds, maybe a camping trip or a weekend up at Lake McMurray.  The Perseid Meteor shower is always fun to catch. This year, we’re going to a Guns ‘n Roses concert, an Everett AquaSox game and the weekends are just loaded with events.

And the 2016 edition of August is definitely better than last year.

It was a year ago this week that my almost-92-year-old Dad fell for the last time. He had been declining in health for years and “the annual fall” had unfortunately become a tradition. This one took too much of a toll, and we were forced to say goodbye. There is never a good time to watch your father slip away–it’s one of those things you know is going to happen some day. You’re just never really ready for that day.

So, when August rolls around, I’m probably always going to think about dad. I prefer to look at the positives, so rather than focusing on when he died, I’d like to remember his birthday…and mom & dad’s anniversary…and….that brings us back to August.  They were married on August 19th, which happened to be my mom’s birthday (we always said, it was so that he would only have to remember one date every year) and he was born on August 31st. His mother’s birthday was August 30th.  There’s no way around it–when I think about August, I think about Dad.

In a way, I remember that August of 2015 like it was yesterday.  Every detail, the challenges, the disbelief, it’s surreal. It’s a life-altering experience that makes you take a look at how you’re living your own life. But then again, at the same time, that particular August went by like one giant blur.

Its hard to believe it’s been a year. But while I don’t hear his voice over the phone any more, I do have a lifetime of memories to wander through in my spare time. Every now and then, something will trigger a thought about dad. He smiles at me every morning at 4am when I drag my weary bones to the office computer and begin another day of tapping away on the keyboard.

Parents want a lot of things for their kids, but most will settle for just one–their kids living a happy life. I’m very fortunate to be doing exactly what I want to be doing, with people I like, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t say a little prayer of gratitude.

And look over at that guy on the wall, smiling at me.

Tim Hunter

Dad 2