Thursday, July 19, 2007

Twenty-seven Years Ago

July 19, 1980, I received a terrible phone call fom my Mom. My Dad's suffering from the massive heart attack he had had two months earlier was over. Mount St. Helens blew up the same week of his heart attack and it continued erupting throughout the summer including the week he died. Also, we had made an offer on our first home in Seattle on July 4th. I was always happy that I was able to tell my Dad about the brand new house we bought. He had been to Seattle before and his first question to me was whether or not it had a yard. Typically houses in Seattle are built on slopes or close to one another so that yards are small compared to houses in Montana. He knew we had a dog and that we would always have a dog and he thought we should have a good yard.

Our first house did have a big fenced yard. It was actually built in the back part of a large double lot. The surrounding houses were older but this little Northwest cedar A-frame style was brand new and built in between some big old doug firs and cedar trees right in the middle of the city. The little house, not far from UW, was terrific for two people and a dog. I guess it is now worth over $400,000 which is unbelievable to me. Anyway, once we had two children, we were stepping all over each other. It had no basement like most homes around here and no way to expand. As such, we moved to Mukilteo where some friends of ours lived and we could get more house for the money.

Every July I always think about the huge summer of change in 1980. It really was the beginning of the life we have lived since. When your parent dies, you suddenly become an adult. When you buy a house, you make a commitment. Our decision was that Seattle would be our home from then on.

And our two other houses also had ample fenced yards for the always present Golden Retrievers.

Even though 27 years have passed, I never stop thinking about the hole left by my Dad's absence. Time certainly dampens the sadness and the memories are happy ones. On Mother's Day this year, my brother and Dave went fishing on Canyon Ferry near Helena. This is a man made lake on the Missouri River not far from where we scattered my Dad's ashes. It was cold and rainy but my Mom, my sister-in-law and I decided we would meet the guys and have a picnic. My Mom was determined but Kathy and I were thinking fried chicken back at Mom's house might be more comfortable. Sure enough, once we spread out the food, the rain stopped and the sun peaked through. Times like these I think my Dad is right there with us as he has been all along.

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My brother in his boat; Dave on the dock.

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Mother's Day Pic Nic, Canyon Ferry
Kathy, my brother, Jim, Dave and my Mom