Thoughts About Dad

NOTE: This was written as an open letter to my siblings. I was scanning photos from my late father’s estate in order to capture, catalog, and copy them for all to have.

March 24, 2022

Well, Siblings. I’ve just had a bit of a surprising epiphany … I’ll try to explain. Judy’s out of town, so I quick-like-a-bunny tried to get some scanning done. I came to a couple boxes that were just “scenery” — you know, flowers, sunsets… no people, family members or historical significance. I even contemplated NOT scanning them at all, much less retouching them and trying to identify dates and locations.

Through my tears I’m happy to report that I have learned something wonderful about our father. I’m REALLY glad my OCD would not let me skip those boxes in order to get to more “good stuff” from family history. Although I have joshed his memory for not being very good at focusing, scanning all these photos brought something into focus for me. I began to see in a new way how our dad saw the world. That he paid attention to beauty. That he was sensitive to the earth. That he noticed color and landscape and wonder. I’m not entirely sure he didn’t fancy himself an inheritor of the legacy of LIFE Magazine, picking up the mantle of capturing life and times for future generations. 

Pouring over his photos — even the “bad” ones — has helped me appreciate his vision even more. And makes me miss him horribly. This scanning project has taken on new meaning for me: to “walk” and “see” with my dad what he saw of his world. It comforts me that we have these. Although I’ll probably still complain about how poorly the slides were cared for, it is with renewed love that I also recognize that he cared to pay attention to the bees visiting the flowers and the sun exploding into the sea and the distant geese passing noisily over the prairie.


I’m also renewed in my joy to be sharing this thread and our Saturday visits with you. [We have a weekly Zoom® chat with Mom.] I love you!

I just posted these thirty-two slides to the shared album. As a portfolio of sorts, they’re not too bad. There are no lost Ansel Adamses in there, and they’re pretty dusty. But as I look from image to image, I recall the man and can imagine myself walking with him, noticing the blossoms; the berries; the reflections; the trees; the shadows; the ice; the sun; the water… THE WORLD. I’m a little sad and angry all over again that he ripped himself out of our lives and that I DIDN’T get to walk and talk and watch and see these things WITH him. But I treasure the time I did have with him, even with all its frustrations and disappointments. And that I DID get to share even a part of my life with him, for which I am forever grateful.

I know you each had a different experience and perception of him in your life with him and without him. I hope my emotional vomit is not hurtful to you. We each have a part of him in us. I hope we continue to share that and more for many more years.