Sunday, January 18, 2015

Walking with the Eagle

Tomorrow I will remember my father for it will be his birthday, so today's post I dedicate to his memory.

I have reconnected with an old childhood chum through FaceBook. Mary has written her memoir You Fall Off, You Get Back On, (available on Amazon) which I can't wait to read. Now as she contemplates writing a novel, she asked her FaceBook friends to comment on their fathers, her own father a WWII war hero and Japanese prisoner of war. Thus I am inspired to honer my own father today.

Born in Washington, Kansas, January 19, 1917, Harry
Duane 's early life began on a Kansas farm, probably his grandparents' farm homestead.

The back of this photo names 2 year old Duane behind his father's 2 ton team  

I could write so much about my father and his accomplishments. As child he was probably a prodigy reading at a very young age. His mother interested in horticulture and nature taught him to love, respect and nurture nature which he passed  to me. As a youngster, guided by his mother, he raised butterflies and moths in his bedroom and had a rather large collection of butterflies. I once asked him why he tolerated those awful horned tomato worms. He had a simple solution. Leave them alone, plant a tomato bush for them because they turn into the hummingbird moth. This passion helped him develop his reading skills, no doubt. Dad was a story teller, telling the tales of his youth rich in humor and morality.

One of my favorite photos of dad show him as a pensive young man, much like the pensive man I knew as a father.  

Dad was probably in second grade when his family moved from Kansas to Lakewood, Colorado. He graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in Chemistry in 1944.  I have letters that he wrote to his parents as he sought his first job, attending a job fair in Kansas City, MO, where he landed his first job which took  him to Providence, Rhode Island. He then went to work in a munitions plant in Des Moines, Iowa where he met my mother. He told stories of those days and of his work in the factory that made ammunitions for the war effort. Dad didn't serve in WWII because he was nearly blind in one eye. He did tell how he tried to fake the eye exam for the military physical, but was caught and thus turned down for military duty.  After he and mom married, they moved to Lakewood where he joined his father's egg and poultry business. 

I was about to enter my third year of college when dad announced that I was on my own financially and would therefore have to borrow money to finish college because he was returning to DU to get his teaching certificate. So I went to the bank and borrowed money to finish my college degree. For a short time there were three of us attending college, me, my brother, and my dad. Dad graduated with his teaching certificate in Math, and while he did have two teaching assignments he found that working as a substitute teacher suited his lifestyle more than a full time job.

Dad loved the outdoors. He hunted, fished, rode trail bikes, and snowmobiles. He tended his small acreage and raised a wonderful garden. When my friend asked us about our fathers, I responded with the three most important lessons that he taught us: Life is isn't fair. When we would whine or complain or dare to argue against his parental authority using the argument that his decision wasn't fair, he had a simple answer: Life isn't fair. I passed that lesson on to my own children. 

He was an educated man; therefore, so his children would be, too, and all three have college degrees. I knew as a very young child that I was college bound because he talked about the money that he was saving for our college found. In 1965 when I graduated high school before the feminist movement,  women had few choices. Most were married in June following graduation and some went onto school to become teachers, nurses, or secretaries. I never questioned him about schooling. I knew better.

His final lesson came very late in life. One day he asked me what money was for. I pondered, not quick to answer because I knew that whatever I said wouldn't suit him. He answered: Some think money is to spend, to buy cars and gas, and groceries. Oh, yes we need those things, but money should be used to make more money. He was a saver and an investor and wise with his money, for which I am most grateful today.

He passed June 11, 1998 5 years after by-pass surgery, leaving a legacy of values he learned as a result of being raised by parents who barely survived the Great Depression, endured WWII,  and lived the post WWII American dream when he and mom worked hard and raised their  children with that tough Life isn't Fair philosophy. 

Happy Birthday, dad.

A Walk with the Eagle

We took Boone for his first away from home walk yesterday along the Cache la Poudre River on the walking trail that goes for miles and miles and miles. Boone did very well with his heal and sit lessons along the way. At home he is full-speed around the yard chasing the doves and rabbits. He is not one to be contained or leashed for long. Thus he wore Max's old harness with the leash hooked on. What a rodeo performance he put on when the Head Gardener fitted it to him for the first time. All geared out with his harness, tags, and even an electronic collar, Boone behaved on the leash. When we left home, it was 47 F degrees, but by the end of the walk we were ready to shed winter hats, coats, and scarves. I am looking forward to more walks along the trail in the spring when the migratory birds have returned. 

We saw one eagle. He allowed us walk right under the tree where he regally perched. Bald eagles are no longer a rare sight here during winter, for they migrate from Alaska and Canada specifically to northern Colorado. None the less, knowing that they were nearly extinct at one time, it is still a thrill to see them and to be able to get close enough that with the aid of a telephoto zoom I can capture good photos.

Here we are, now, on the downside of January. We have had a snowy and cold month, but winter is just gearing up, I fear. Here in Colorado, actually, March is our month that promises the most moisture be it snow or rain. February will be all warm and lovey with Valentine's Day. 

So today I will entertain myself. The HG has gone to Denver to a sportsman show. I will make a valentine bunting for the kitchen.

I hope you have a wonderful week.

Thanks for joining me. I always love reading your comments. You can see my mosaic and others when you visit Lavender Cottage with this week's Monday Mosaics hosted by Judith. Better yet, make your own mosaic and join the fun and make new friends. I use Picasa (the free version) for my mosaics.


  1. What a lovely tribute and post to your Dad. Boone is a handsome dog and I love the eagle photo. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing! Have a happy week!

  2. What a lovely post Ann - a great tribute to your father, who, by the way, looks wonderful with that full beard and moustache. And such wonderful pictures of the eagle too - wow.

    1. I meant to comment on dad's beard, Elaine. The picture may have been taken in 1976, the year that America celebrated it's centennial as a nation. Many American men grew beards as their way of recognizing the anniversary.

    2. Make that America's bi-centennial, 200 years. I never could count.

  3. A very touching post. What a wise man your father was.

  4. Aw! I love your tribute to your father, Ann!
    A Valentine bunting? FUN!
    It's so warm today! I went for a long windy walk!
    That eagle is beautiful!

  5. Your father left wonderful examples and lessons to his children. What a great tribute to your dad. Hope you show us the Valentine bunting you're creating!

  6. Your dad was an admirable man instilling good values and the love of nature in his children. I thought the handlebar moustache was pretty neat and read above why he may have grown it, and his beard.
    Poor Boone, so much energy!
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Ann.

  7. Wonderful post, Ann. How lucky you are and the best is, you know it, to see eagles on your walks. Beautiful, absolutely stunning! And well done, Bone! Love the name of the river, Cache la poudre, must be of historical events.

  8. Your Dad sounds like a very wonderful, and wise man. What a beautiful tribute to him...your words are written with care, and a loving heart.

    I had no idea that Tomato Horn Worn was the delightful Hummingbird moth...see rags to riches in the garden.


  9. Dear Ann, I so enjoyed seeing the bald eagle and hearing how Boone's training is going but I was most struck by your tribute to your Dad, the life he led and the lessons he taught you. But the strangest thing...all the time I was reading I had a song playing in my head. It's by John Denver the title is Matthew, do you know it?

  10. A beautiful tribute to your father, dear Ann.
    Happy Birthday, Ann's Dad!

  11. Happy Birthday to your Dad...what a wonderful tribute to this special man! Thank you for sharing his story...

  12. What great photos of your dad over time, and nice to recall special memories. Nice snow & nature photos with the bald eagle as well.We're getting a little snow in Ireland too.

  13. Tears. Momma. I have tears. I loved this man so much. His story is so endearing.

  14. Ann, what a wonderful tribute to your father! He sounds like such a great and interesting man. The sweet and scary photo of him behind that team of horses reminds me of the young Amish boys I see doing the same today. Your father had many great life lessons he passed on to you. What a treasure!

  15. Beautiful tribute to your father and wonderful old pictures, it is so good to have special memories. And then the eagle pictures, stunning, we don't have eagles here.

  16. Beautiful memories of your father Anne. He looks like a very kind man! I can imagine you still miss him very much. Sending you a hug!

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Madelief x

  17. A beautiful post about your Dad. I think our blogs are so therapeutic helping us remember, recall and honor our loved ones who have passed. Thank you for sharing.