I buried my father today. (lengthy post, beware) [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Vigilant
12-30-2011, 19:56
As hard as it was in the usual ways, there were so many consolations and blessings forthcoming that it was an intensely bittersweet experience. I thought some of y'awl might enjoy this. If you pull up a satellite image of Vail, WA, the old town was actually to the upper left of where they show it now. Follow Gordon Road out of the shop area, and you can take a virtual tour of 240,000 acres of wilderness. My Dad was the last Mayor of Vail, WA, before the town outlived its usefulness to the Company. What's left there now is a pitiful shadow of what was there back in the day.

**********************************************

Dad was a loyal, hard-working, loving family man with a heart of pure gold. He devoted his life to his family and his wife, my dear Mother. I am so grateful that I had the chance to thank him sincerely for all that he has done for us, and tell him once again that I love him, before he passed.

Dad made up his mind at a young age that he wanted to be a forester. After he finished his Master's Degree in Logging Engineering at Washington State University, he and my mother moved to a little company town in the Idaho Panhandle, named Headquarters, in 1952. He joined Potlatch Forest as a Management Trainee, and showed such outstanding work ethic that, in the Spring following his first several months of employment, he was selected from among the best of the loggers to work the log drive. Those good men slept on a pontoon boat, and wrestled the whole previous year's production of logs down the Clearwater River to the mill, through 90 miles of stark wilderness. It was a rough, cold, grueling job, and it was not uncommon for a logger to die on the log drive. The foreman, known as the Frenchman, was a man of few words, and a hard man to please. When the drive was finished for that year, Dad was totally exhausted, like everyone else, and sitting on the boat, the Wannigan, reflecting on his adventures. The old Frenchman walked by Dad, stopped, and said quietly, "You may come back next year". That was an immense compliment, and also a strong testimonial to the kind of man Dad was. Even so, Dad's first log drive on the Clearwater was also his last. There was one phone in town, a pay phone at the drug store. One day, Dad received a phone call from someone who has since become his lifelong friend, Ken Schaeffer, with Weyerhaueser. Shortly afterward, Mom and Dad moved from Headquarters to Aberdeen, Washington. Dad started as a surveyor with Weyerhaeuser, and progressed through the ranks. He retired after 39 years of service.

Dad had immense respect for the people he worked with, especially the loggers who worked at one of the roughest, most dangerous professions of all. He spent several years as Camp Superintendent at the Vail logging camp (240,000 acres), in western Washington. He was also the Mayor of the company town, also known as Vail. A log train was also part of the operation. I recall one time when they were testing an old set of tracks at the Port of Olympia, where they had planned to sideline several loads of virgin sawlogs, until they could be transported. The tracks were so old, the locomotive broke through, and sank. Dad summoned the Section Crew (the railroad workers), and anyone else he could find, and stayed with them as they spent hour after miserable hour, jacking the lokie up, blocking it in place, and rebuilding the tracks underneath so it could return to the camp to pull the next day's log train. When the sun was going down, Dad radioed to the Vail Shop, and instructed the folks there to call into town, and have a good supper sent out to the men. When supper arrived, Dad noticed one of the men talking to his comrades. I'll never forget the words he spoke: "I've been with this company 22 (expletive deleted) years, and this is the first (expletive deleted) time ANYONE has ever bought me supper". They had the lokie back down on solid tracks and were loading up the tools around Midnight that night. As the lokie headed back to Vail in the darkness and the others started to leave, totally exhausted, that's when Dad left as well, and came home to his family.

Dad was my best friend, and my hero. In his last years, I took him out for a ride just about every Saturday, the same way he used to take me to ride with him to the woods. I spent a lot of time with him in the woods, especially when he was at Vail. As badly as I hurt right now, that hurt is offset by an immense sense of consolation. I called the ambulance and had Dad hauled back to the hospital on his last day. He was mad as a wet hen, but he went. When the doctor told us that Dad's life was about to come to an end, I thought he surely had at least a few more days. I told him I was going to run a couple errands and come back to see him. I thanked him sincerely for all that he has done for me, and all of us. I told him once again that I love him, and left. Something told me to go ahead and call the church, even though it was just past 5 PM. Of course, they had already closed. Something told me to go to the church anyway, so I did. I had been there for less than a minute, when Monsignor Lewis drove through the parking lot. When I told him what was going on, he insisted on going to see Dad immediately. Less than a half hour later, I received a call from the hospital, notifying me that shortly after Monsignor Lewis gave Dad the Annointing of the Sick, Dad passed away peacefully and painlessly.

And now, as Paul Harvey would say, here's the rest of the story: The next day, Father Vic told me that Monsignor Lewis had been driving to Raleigh that evening to spend some time off, when something changed his mind. Something told him to turn around, and come back to town. Just before he made it back to the rectory, something..... something told him to swing by and check on the church. And there I was. That takes my breath away. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that God had a hand in Dad's passing. Dad left this world loaded for bear.

Godspeed, Dad. We all love you dearly.

**********************************************

Full steam ahead.

wrenrj1
12-30-2011, 20:04
Lengthy post? Glad I read every word. Sorry for you loss, but sounds like you and your father had a great relationship and life together.

Newcop761
12-30-2011, 20:09
Vigilant, I'm sorry for your loss.

It sounds like your father was a good man, and a great father.

Truckee
12-30-2011, 20:27
Vigilant, wonderful story. I wish all sons could feel such way about their Father as you. I did of mine too... and I wouldn't give that up for anything.

Allow the pain to transform into a loving smile... when I think of Papa now, those memories are a priceless gift.

God's Speed

Patchman
12-30-2011, 20:50
Wow, I read every word. It was a great and worthy tribute to your dad. My condolences to you and your family for his passing.

nrabnf
12-30-2011, 20:59
Thank You Vigilant so much. My Dad passed two years ago Christmas Day and he's still right here next to me. WWII vet from North Africa through to D-Day, he saw it all. At 94 he had a good life.
God Bless sir
Mark

PawDog
12-30-2011, 20:59
Vigilant, sorry for your loss. I know exactly how you feel right now. my dad passed almost two years ago, and I was unfortunately 1000 miles away from him in Colorado when he passed.

The pain of your loss will subside in time, but your greatest and fondest memories of your time together are yours for the rest of your lifetime.

CJStudent
12-30-2011, 21:08
Sorry for your loss, Vigilant. It sounds like part of him will live on inside of you forever, though. Cherish it, and I'm here if you need anything, man; just a few States away!

Gallium
12-30-2011, 21:09
So indeed, the apple does not fall far from the tree. :)

Stand tall and walk proud sir.

'Drew

smokeross
12-30-2011, 21:20
I've got tears in my eyes, my friend.

msu_grad_121
12-30-2011, 21:24
Well put, sir. I'm sorry for your loss. Reading the post, I couldn't help but feel a bit jealous at the way your father's life ended. My dad too worked like a mule to provide for his family, but he died under rather worse conditions. You're truly lucky to have had him and the relationship you forged with him. God bless...

Vigilant
12-30-2011, 21:25
I thank you all so much for your kind words. I do my best to read every prayer request here, but sadly, I have not always been as responsive as I should. From this day on, I will mention all the good folks on Cop Talk in my daily prayers. Although it's doubtful that we will all ever meet in this life, I still feel that we're fortunate to have each other. Most of us, anyway. :upeyes:

When I think about the stuff I used to chase after, and think was so all-fired important, I just shake my head. This is where it's at. Family is solid gold, whether someone has religious beliefs or not.

Vigilant
12-30-2011, 21:29
I've got tears in my eyes, my friend.

Thanks, amigo. I too have shed my fair share of tears. Sounds like your Dad is cut from the same stock. If only the good folks here knew.

But tell us, Mister Smoke, is there any truth to the rumor that the real reason you weep is because you finally realize the error in your ways when you inbred your virgin Stihl herd with two Huskies? :rofl:

Kadetklapp
12-30-2011, 21:32
Excellent post.

I know I bring up my dad a lot in here, mostly because of his LODD, but I just love bragging about my old man. I lost it a few weeks ago on the 8th anniversary. Grief is like a drunken house guest...it always comes back for one more hug...

TBO
12-30-2011, 21:38
Sorry for your loss.

Warm thoughts send your way.

RussP
12-30-2011, 22:00
Prayers sent for all...

itstime
12-30-2011, 22:09
Prayers sent to you your family and friends.

He will never be gone or missed in spirit. He is and will always still be there.

smokeross
12-30-2011, 22:11
Thanks, amigo. I too have shed my fair share of tears. Sounds like your Dad is cut from the same stock. If only the good folks here knew.

But tell us, Mister Smoke, is there any truth to the rumor that the real reason you weep is because you finally realize the error in your ways when you inbred your virgin Stihl herd with two Huskies? :rofl:
Oh, but I have 7 huge McCullochs (all running) and 2 huge Homelites. One is a gear drive 1130G with a 42" bar and a 1/2" pitch chain. What makes me weep is the effort it takes these days to start these monsters.:crying:

Pinki
12-30-2011, 22:11
Deepest condolences on your loss....

Vigilant
12-30-2011, 22:13
Prayers sent to you your family and friends.

He will never be gone or missed in spirit. He is and will always still be there.

No doubt, my friend. We will all learn one day, that we are spiritual creatures, first and foremost. We don't need our body to exist. All this life is, is just a short, little test. It is up to us to choose whether this life becomes a blessing, or a curse. There are so many illusions in life, and time is the biggest illusion of all.

Again, I thank you all.

Vigilant
12-30-2011, 22:20
Oh, but I have 7 huge McCullochs (all running) and 2 huge Homelites. One is a gear drive 1130G with a 42" bar and a 1/2" pitch chain. What makes me weep is the effort it takes these days to start these monsters.:crying:

Easy, Mister Smoke. We have to remember, some folks here are a bit intimidated by us "woodsy types". :supergrin:

Where's Gretchen when you need her, eh?

Vigilant
12-30-2011, 22:21
Deepest condolences on your loss....

Thanks, Miss Pinki. Good to hear from you. :thumbsup:

Hack
12-30-2011, 22:39
My deepest condolences on the loss of your father, and my prayers with you and your family.

I believe that he in part lives on in you through everything you have experienced and learned from him. And, about the Monsignor being given pause to turn back to the church, amazing. God is great isn't He? He remembers us in every facet of our lives, and ministers to us in ways we sometimes forget about, or don't even notice. But, this was noticeable for a reason only God knows of. God bless you and your family in your times of grief, and in celebration of his passing on to something greater in God.

OXCOPS
12-30-2011, 23:05
There are no words to express our condolences.

Cochese
12-31-2011, 01:41
So indeed, the apple does not fall far from the tree. :)

Stand tall and walk proud sir.

'Drew

This.

'Drew? NYC Drew?

I was like huh? Then I was like wha?

Chico Bill
12-31-2011, 01:50
Your post brings back the pain of my dad's passing and the wonderful memories of his life. I'm sorry for your loss. The miracles that surround the tragedy of death gave me comfort and I hope they do the same for you.

Fireplug
12-31-2011, 04:31
Vigilant, read every word. Tears. Sorry for your loss. The lord does work in mysterious ways. My father is slowly fading and I can't imagine life without him.

packsaddle
12-31-2011, 05:10
rest in peace, sir.

prayers for you, family, and friends.

JohnnyReb
12-31-2011, 05:21
I'm sorry for your loss. I can't fathom my life without my Dad, as he is my hero. He is everything I've wanted to be in life.

I can't imagine what you are going through, but I wish nothing but the best for you through this difficult time.

4949shooter
12-31-2011, 05:31
I've got tears in my eyes, my friend.

Mine as well.

Ajon412
12-31-2011, 05:31
I, too, am so very sorry for your loss....What a wonderful tribute. Every son should have a father for a hero. I know I do...

G27Chief
12-31-2011, 07:02
Prayers to you and your family Vigilant.

Conan1
12-31-2011, 07:19
Very sorry for your loss and happy for your experiences and memories.

Officer X
12-31-2011, 07:50
Sorry for your loss, my prayers go out to you

OfficerChris
12-31-2011, 10:38
sorry for your loss, it seems that you really loved your father - as sad as you are, at least you had a wonderful father and probably will be one too.

jethro21
12-31-2011, 10:51
I lost my Father earlier this year- he was 51 years old. Like you, I can't help but see how the Lord was present with him and us in his loss.

I am sorry for your loss, but happy for your memories, clarity and thankfulness for a well lived life. God continue to bless you and your family throughout the coming days.

Jethro

PuroMexicano
12-31-2011, 13:32
Vigilant, I'm very sorry for your loss, you'll be in my prayers.

Vigilant
12-31-2011, 13:33
To all who have replied, I can't thank you enough. Cop Talk has been good for me, and I'm quite sure it has been the same for others. It's such an irony...... as much as I deplore the way life in general is headed, in this age of modern technology, thanks to Eric, Russ, and others, we have come to know each other as friends, in a way that I would have never dreamed possible 50 years ago. I still recall one day at school, in about the Third Grade, when the teacher began to rant about all the daydreams some people had back then about future inventions and technology. She was especially annoyed at the thought that some day, people would be able to see each other from miles away, as they conversed on the telephone. But look at us now.

Even so, are we really better off overall than we were 50 years ago?

God help us.

Gallium
12-31-2011, 14:04
To all who have replied, I can't thank you enough. Cop Talk has been good for me, and I'm quite sure it has been the same for others. It's such an irony...... as much as I deplore the way life in general is headed, in this age of modern technology, thanks to Eric, Russ, and others, we have come to know each other as friends, in a way that I would have never dreamed possible 50 years ago. I still recall one day at school, in about the Third Grade, when the teacher began to rant about all the daydreams some people had back then about future inventions and technology. She was especially annoyed at the thought that some day, people would be able to see each other from miles away, as they conversed on the telephone. But look at us now.

Even so, are we really better off overall than we were 50 years ago?

God help us.

You and I have conducted business in the past, and have shared thoughts on a wide spectrum of ideas and opinions.

Speaking for myself...Tech advances have allowed me to interact, in near real time with folks I may otherwise never have chance to meet in person, and technology has also spurred me to meet folks whose existence otherwise might have been unknown or alien to me.

Yes. Collectively, humans are in a better place and state with the advances in technology we have seen.

I lost my dad Dec 23 some years back. It was my pleasure, and my honor to tend to his last affairs on earth. I am sure you too take some contentment from being there for his final steps.

Have a great new year sir. Barring that, I pray you have the strength and tenacity to deal with any adversity that foolishly attempts to cross your path.

'Drew
:cool:

Vigilant
12-31-2011, 14:08
Well said, Drew. You da man. :thumbsup:

Just remember to tread lightly, because you're on someone else's turf in Cop Talk. :tongueout:

You do recall that post from some time ago, I trust? :supergrin:

Agent6-3/8
12-31-2011, 14:21
Sorry to hear of the passing of your father and a great man. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers! :angel:

MB-G26
12-31-2011, 23:30
Vigilant - I am so very, very sorry for your loss.

:crying:

lawman800
01-01-2012, 06:12
Vigilant, beautiful words. I'm sure your father is mighty proud of you. Stay strong, my friend.

fx77
01-01-2012, 10:36
A fine tribute
Prayers be with U and your family.

Vigilant
01-01-2012, 13:27
And again, I say, many thanks to you all. What a good circle of friends we have become. Like family in a sense, yet few of us would recognize one another without an introduction if we ever meet in this life.

Let's plan on a Cop Talk reunion up yonder when it's all over, eh?

glockmancustom32
01-01-2012, 13:30
Hope you and your family do well in your hard times, may god bless you guys.