I was forty-years-old when my father died. Though he suffered greatly before his death, in his younger years, he was hale and hearty and loved to work.
Dad never told me he loved me. It was not in his nature. He just showed me.
We did not play often and when we did it was nearly always in the hills and mountains around our southern Utah hometown. Most of our outings were day trips or after-work jaunts for a picnic or a fishing or hunting trip. Many were to Yankee Meadow Reservoir in Iron County, Utah.
The final approach to “The Yankee” is carved from a gray clay hill. Today the road has been heavily graveled which provides greater access and much greater safety. Not so, back in the day. If there was storm, the gray clay, so dusty in dry weather, would turn to a substance “slick as bacon grease,” as Dad would say.
One day our family got caught at the Yankee in a mountain rain storm. Too late, we got the car packed up with the intent of heading home. Dad drove to the top of the steep, gray-clay descent and looked down the muddy track. He had two words for us, “Get out.” It was raining and cold and wet and muddy. We hesitated. Dad’s words were the same, “Get out.” We did.
Not fully understanding the situation, I asked Mom why we were walking the half-mile or so to the bottom while Dad drove. “Your Dad’s afraid the car will slide off the road and roll down the hillside. He doesn’t want any of you kids hurt or killed.” Indeed, we could see the car slipping and sliding, sometimes turning several degrees off course before Dad could correct it.
Eventually we met up with the car at the bottom of the hill. Dad was waiting for us. We kicked what mud we could off our shoes and got into the car. I do not recall much being said about it on the way home. It was over and we went home.
There were other times we walked to the bottom of hills. I always knew why – my dad would rather be injured or killed than allow us to be injured or killed. There did not seem to be any forethought or debate in the decision. It was just the way it was. He loved us more than his own life and he taught us that love with great simplicity in simple words, “Get out.”
Latest posts by Steven Decker (see all)
- Social Media: Real-time Family History in the First Person - June 30, 2016
- Timely Tips for Preserving Your Family Heirlooms - May 4, 2016
- FamilySearch Offers Rich Genealogy Research for Ohioans - October 20, 2015