Reminiscing about Dad

When my dad worked for the Forest Service, part of his job was to entertain the entire campground on weekends. I think it was a way for the government to work him overtime without being paid for it. “Hey, here’s something fun you can do after work…”  Part of that entertainment was showing reel to reel movies at a small outdoor amphitheatre. The Way of a Trout is one of the movies he used to show, which plucks every string of nostalgia in my body when I watch it.

We had a woodstove, two fireplaces, and lots of time when I was growing up, which meant we got to split wood with my dad. On cool fall days, he worked the chainsaw like a barber trimming a moustache, nipping off smaller limbs, and then like a butcher as he sliced through the salami-like logs. I can still remember the pungent smell of the chainsaw smoke wafting through the air, mixing with the sour fragrance of freshly cut oak logs, and my father, an apparition in my memory, dancing through the smoke as he performed that masculine ballet.

On mornings when we rode to school with my dad, a phys ed teacher, my brother, sister and I often gathered in the bathroom, climbing around his legs as he shaved. Barbasol was his preferred shaving cream and was my first introduction to manhood.

My Dad never bothered with Playboy magazine. Unfortunately. But he did have a kickass mustache.

Unlike many of today’s sports-teachers, who start as coaches and get tossed into geography or physics classes to fill a gap, my father was actually quite skilled at both teaching and coaching. And yes, my dad could kick your dad’s ass. Just sayin.

When I was in high school, waaaay before it was fashionable, my father was making kombucha in a giant glass jar in our attic. It just so happened that my bedroom was also in the attic. So I hated the smell and the idea that a giant fungus was growning in this jar in the closet. Which is funny, because I generally enjoyed experiments in nature. But it really just looked gross. My bad, Dad. I should’ve listened. Again.

Before I was born, my father raised German Shepherds, yet another of the strange and interesting hobbies I found out about my father not too long ago. I found out by discovering a box of medals and ribbons with phrases such as “best in show” or “kings choice award for posture.” Strange, and kind of awesome. When my father and mother divoreced, my father bought his own place. Within several weeks he had bought two German shepherds.

My father has always ridden motorcycles. Actually, let me clarify. My father has always ridden Harleys. He’s not a redneck with a beard down to his knees. But he is a real man. Which is what I found out when I asked why the hell he only rides Harleys. “Because Dol, only real men ride Harleys.” Alright. Nuff said.

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