A month ago I told you about the legacy my mom had left in the Bulkley Valley. This time it is time to celebrate my dad’s legacy.
I’m not sure if dad thinks about the legacy he has influenced here, but let me tell you, it is alive and strong.
I see my dad every time I see one of my children or grandchildren, and recognize his smile, or his curiosity, the twinkle in their eyes, and I always see his deep love of family continuing with each one of them.
My dad is a man of many strengths and talents and someone I have looked up to my entire life.
He has passed his strengths and talents on to many in our family, sometimes in subtle ways, but I always see my dad in the best of my kids and grandkids.
Dad was a professor of sociology in my younger years in Pittsburgh, Kansas. We always had students and teachers at our house, and it was a fun place to be.
There was always a lot of discussion, debate and laughter in our house.
Dad sparked the social justice side of me, as it was during the 60s we lived in Kansas and it was a time of great turmoil in the United States.
Through Dad’s eyes, I learned people were the same no matter colour, religion, culture, or political party. We all bleed red blood when cut. I learned from him to treat all people with love and respect, and have taught the same to my children.
When it came time for a change in our lives, my dad ventured out to interview in places with colleges that sounded pretty exotic in my young mind. Like a place called Colorado where there were “mile-high mountains” and I had never seen more than a rolling hill.
There were other colleges and universities dad looked at that I cannot remember, but one day dad came home from a place called Oregon, and I knew we were going. I saw it in his eyes, they twinkled.
He said it had mountains and deserts, volcanos, and valleys with rivers, and something called an ocean. Man, I didn’t know what all that was but dad was sure excited, and we left Kansas in the dust behind us.
Oregon was amazing and dad had us exploring the state all the time. We fished, we camped, we went to ghost towns and we went to the “big water” as my brother Eric called the ocean. We went to the ocean a lot. It was where I have always felt most at home and content.
Dad and I, when I was older, would drag a trailer to the coast to stay in and work our salmon fishing boat during the summers, and our boat was honestly called the Nemo. Those were the best of summers, as we ate great, made lifelong friends, worked hard and made a lifetime of memories and had fantastic adventures.
Later on, mom and dad had a house at the beach, where we took our kids and made another generation of memories and fun times. Dad was always right in the middle of the fun, crabbing, fishing, making sand castles, flying kites, rock hunting. There was something always going on with dad and the grandkids.
My dad’s influence and zest for life was not just contagious for me, my brother and mom, but it lives on in my kids who tell their kids of all of those adventures, and now another generation is always excited to go see Gigi and PapPap (as they call them) for new adventures.
Legacies are interesting. They can be sad, but not the one my dad has made, it is one of pure love and joy.
His legacy has now taught three generations to love each other, to make our communities better, to challenge ourselves to be better people, to make those around us better, to have fun, to be curious, to adventure, explore the world and to think and ask questions.
Dad has made us all better just by having him in our lives, and Poppa, your whole West Coast Crew wishes you much love and the happiest of Father’s Day, to the best dad, granddad and great-granddad any of us could have wished for, we love you to the moon and beyond.