A major event for me, more so in hindsight, was the death of my father. He passed away at age 60 from cancer in 1985 as I was not quite 29. “Too young”, most people have said but I know of many adults who never made it that far. Dad lived to see both his children educated then enter successfully into society on their own. Didn’t live long enough to see his grandchildren though. We were not an overly affectionate or touchy-feely family like so many I have observed over the years. He did care for us very much, never abusing and always providing in every way, but in the end mom and dad were the parents, my sister and I were the kids. Friendships were left to be found elsewhere. I often think back and compare our lives. I’m still amazed how much of the world he saw before he turned 20 thanks to World War Two and the U.S. Navy. Ultimately I think we led very diverged lives with different priorities and goals. Admittedly, my life was shaped by what I witnessed in his life and then thinking I wanted something different. Now with some maturity of my own (ha!, there’s that word again) what I really regret is not being able to just sit down and talk to him about “life”. I wonder what I would have learned.
After he died my views changed. It became very important to achieve some of the things I had previously only dreamed about. Also, life was very precious to the point where I avoided stepping on ants. That didn’t last. Ten years later I placed several bird feeders filled with “high-end” bird seed around the yard. They attracted many varieties of beautiful birds. Unfortunately, squirrels were also drawn to the feeders. Rodents living in trees. I purchased a pellet rifle and attempted to eliminate the local squirrel population. Having a large wooded yard allowed me to dig holes and bury the victims. As my aim improved I found myself burying a half dozen or more in a single hole. As I ran out of convenient places to dig holes I either threw them into the woods or placed them in crooks of tree limbs where scavengers could find them. They generally disappeared in a day or two.
After several hundred or so kills (yes I kept count) I just didn’t have it in me anymore. Since then I’ve been on the lookout for squirrel-proof feeders. I wonder what dad would have thought about all of that?