The best teachers impart knowledge through sleight of hand, like a magician. Kate Betts
Happy Birthday Dad! January 16, 1951
Just to reiterate, Dad despises me talking about him online. (So don’t say anything) I rarely do, at least he’s not the focus of most of my stories, except for today.
Dad’s added another digit to his age. He’s still moving forward, a lot slower, but still going. I couldn’t live without the old man. It’s funny, I never realized it until recent times just how much Dad loves us, all of us.
Dad’s a unique individual, in more ways than one. He truly loves us and always wishes the best for us in a selfless manner. His heart is true. He reminds me of my Pappy, Ryan and Kyle in that respect. His definition of success isn’t the type of car a person drives or any other superficial means. Nope. His definition of a good person is how well they can shoot a gun. (Half joking) Dad looks at a person from the inside first, except when watching television, then he’s not so kind with his words. I’m not saying Dad’s some holy person, not even close, but he is a decent guy. A bit opinionated, and a many times irritating when he wants something done, but I’ll take that over someone who’s spiteful, materialistic and out for themselves any day. I’m aware of Dad’s shortcomings and they’re trumped by his good qualities, in my opinion.
This past year we had a great hunting season. I personally, had a record year, and Dad was excited about it. Truly. He’s so proud when I harvest a deer, I hear him telling EVERYONE. Not only that, but when I’m a good shot and his friends witness it or even if they don’t, boy does Dad beam with delight. He’s genuinely happy for me.
Before rifle season started, Dad went bow hunting and muzzle-loader. I’m glad he has something he looks forward to doing and it keeps him moving.
As history dictates, we went hunting in New York, where I harvested a buck, and poor Dad didn’t see a single deer. A week later, the Monday after Thanksgiving, we went hunting in Pennsylvania. I filled most of my tags and Dad filled a couple. The best part? We had a great time together, especially sitting in a small tree stand with the big guy. Sometimes he gets on my nerves and is a bit too serious, but other times he totally cracks me up.
During the hunting season, most of our conversations focus on Ryan and Kyle. We all miss Ryan, but hunting season heightens Dad’s longing for his son. That was their time together. Every once in a while Dad would comment “Boy, Ryan would be enjoying himself”, or he’d say “I wish Kyle was here.”
We did more than hunt deer this year. For the first time ever, I got to go pheasant (ringneck) hunting. We had a blast! When I was little, Dad used to bring home a pheasant periodically, so it’s not like I was unfamiliar with the birds but it was neat to be directly involved. Dad and I went a couple of times and filled our limit of two birds each, both times. Dad didn’t stop talking about it for weeks. The first time we brought home our pheasants Kyle was home. Without hesitation, Kyle helped up skin the birds. Kyle wouldn’t gut them, but he did wash them out. The best part of that day? Kyle sat with me and Dad during the process and hung out, plus he learned the trait. It was a nice time together.
Dad’s been doing a lot of goose hunting this year. I joined him a few time and I know nothing would make him happier than if I’d go with him every day, but like I’ve told him, repeatedly, “I have to work. I’m not retired.” Occasionally, I sneak out but I can’t do it day in and day out like he wants to. Even if I could, goose hunting doesn’t excite me that much. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a fan of goose meat. While we’re on it, I don’t even really like duck.
A funny trait about Dad? He doesn’t look at himself as an old person. In fact, he gets irritated with elderly people. In many cases, they’re the same age as Dad! Doesn’t that just crack you up? I find such humor in Dad calling a person driving beside us “old”, when clearly they’re the same age.
One a side note, I have a funny story. The other day I was walking through a store and this lady stopped me and asked if I was Ron Piper’s daughter. Believe it or not, this has happened to me many, many times over the years. She couldn’t remember my name, but she knew exactly who I was. I’ve always been told I look like my Dad and more than not, I was told, in a negative way, that I act like him too. I’m okay with that and I’m proud to be like Dad. As it turns out, the lady was Shirley Achhammer, another relative. How funny!
Happy Birthday old man. Keep kicking and doing what you do!