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Posts Tagged ‘memories of dad’

Today, I was reminded of my father. I dragged my husband to the Annual Clackamette Mineral and Gem Show in Canby (he didn’t exactly resist). My plan was to purchase some really awesome glue for crafts (which I did), but I also love the rocks. And minerals.

They have this auction that goes on all day and ends every 15 minutes, where you can bid on rocks, shells, pieces of glass, and minerals. I was mildly amused to see copper ore for sale – I used to buy copper ore from the neighbor girls when I lived in Ely, Nevada. I think I paid $0.05 per rock for the pretty blue arsenic-laced ore. That was back during Kennecott’s hey-day as a copper producer (and Ely’s Boom! days).

We did not buy any rocks, but we did see several things that reminded me of my dad: fire opals, for one. My dad picked up some raw fire opals for me that I still have in a sealed glass with water. If my memory serves me right, I had just joined the rock club in 4-H in out little town. It was the mid-1960’s and the leader of the club was horrified to have a little girl on his hands. He wanted an all-boy club. He purposely excluded me from meeting announcements and field trips. I was not stupid: I knew what he was doing and cried (literally) to my dad. My dad told me that sometimes life isn’t fair and there are not-nice people we have to deal with (I’m sure he wanted to call the guy an a-hole, but I was too young for that kind of name-calling). The very next weekend (OK, sometime close to that event), my dad picked the fire opals up out of a stream somewhere in the remote mountains on Nevada and gave them to me. It was his way of saying that *he* was proud I liked rocks and he wanted to encourage me to continue to be a rock hound.

I love rocks. That’s a random fact.

I love Hallowe’en. I can’t begin to tell you why. I am a born-again Christian who has been bombarded with how evil Hallowe’en is ever since I first professed my faith. How the Church view Hallowe’en has never altered how *I* see it. I love Hallowe’en. I don’t watch spooky movies; I abhor horror flicks; and I don’t read Stephen King (very much, any way). But I.Love.Hallowe’en. I like the dress-up, the lights, the faux head stones, the mockery of death and scary things, and the history of Samhein. I love haunted houses (real ones, not the shock-culture-startle-you-into-a-heart-attack variety). I have lived in several haunted houses, one which had a particularly evil poltergeist. And I still love Hallowe’en.

I love Christmas more. I go a little bit overboard for Christmas. I even believe in Santa Claus.

I once fell into a cult that despised Christmas and we even had to live with a couple who refused to get a Christmas Tree (because it’s evil). I prayed very hard to find our own place before the first of December because I was damned if I was going to have a Christmas without a tree.

We bought a $40 Noble tree for Christmas that year, even though we couldn’t afford it. That’s how bad I am.

I love Easter even more, but they don’t have enough Easter decorations that don’t involve eggs. Eggs only go so far. I can only eat so many eggs and the only other person who lives here doesn’t like hard boiled eggs. Neither one of us does candy or milk chocolate. But – if I could find more bunnies & Resurrection symbols, I’d be in Heaven. Literally.

I can’t sit still. I’m not ADHD, but I have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time. I have to get up and move around every fifteen minutes.

I love storms. I love lightning, wind, and heavy rain (just not constant, steady, drizzle for 6 months). I have been caught outdoors in lightning storms. I’ve had thunder boom overhead so close that the hair on the back of my arms raised up. I’ve been caught in dustdevils that tossed Russian thistle into me so hard that I hurt all over. I’ve huddled under nickle-sized hail while lightning struck everywhere around us (twice!). I still love storms.

I never really wanted to be a mother. At least, not when I was 16. I made this pact with my then-best-friend, Janet, that she could have babies & I could take the kids when they were 4 and raise them. I’ve always liked 4-11 year old kids. Janet didn’t keep her end of the bargain (she had babies, but didn’t ship them to me when they were four). I became a mother and had to raise children under the age of four to adulthood. I loved every minute of it (when I wasn’t having a nervous breakdown).

I love books. OK, that’s not a revelation by any means. I cried when I read my dad’s will and he left ALL the books to me. No one else cared, really. But I knew – at that very moment – that my dad really did get me. He knew me.

I didn’t feel guilty when I took three rocks out of his backyard, under the nose of my nephew. I took two lava bombs and one granite net anchor. I gave one lava bomb to my brother, but the net anchor and the other bomb came home with me. If I had had more time, I would have dug up the petrified wood, too.

My dad was a Forest Ranger. I grew up listening to the Smokey-the-Bear song every time a certain substitute teacher taught my class. I died within every time. But because I grew up believing the USFS land was my land, I refuse to pay for permits to park my car, hike trails, pick huckleberries or mushrooms, or to camp in a designated camp site. I camp where there’s a fire ring & I obey fire danger signs. But those lands are my lands, not the Fed’s lands.

My mother worked for the BLM. We called it “Blum”. She worked for “the enemy”. It was a family joke, but the truth was: we disrespected the BLM.

My dad discovered the Cave Bear skeleton in Nevada. Well, spelunkers who were friends of his actually discovered it. My dad and my mom sat in lawn chairs and watched the excavation. The cave bear skeleton was credited to some young female Forest Ranger fresh out of college. My family remains bitter to this day.

My dad built all of the nice signs that are posted at Great Basin National Park. The Park Service never recognized Dad’s contributions. The last time I took a tour of Lehman Caves, I wrote a scathing letter to the Park Service regarding how they handled the tours. I never heard back from them.

I am a bit of a Forest Service Brat.

Final fact: there was this ceramic frog that lazed under the China Hutch when I was growing up. I remember my dad telling us that when he died, he was going to be reincarnated as that frog. Today, at the rock show, I saw some green carved frogs (that looked nothing like my dad’s frog) and I was reminded of him. His frog is in a box in Reno, in a storage unit. My name is on the box. I had a sudden epiphany.

Dad is waiting for me to bring him home.

I need to get my stuff out of Reno. Soon. Before Dad starts haunting me.

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