Father’s Day 2018

Today is Father’s Day, first I would like to wish all the men who are fathers, or who have accepted the role as a father and have touched the life of someone in need of a fatherly touch, a very happy Father’s Day.

My father died in 1992 at 69 years just three short years after my mother’s death.  I loved my dad, but I did not always like him.  Dad was not always a loving man, he was an authoritarian in many ways and he ruled in that way.  But dad was a dreamer.  He was always going to start his own business or get a pick up with a camper and we would do a lot of traveling and camping.  None of these things ever took place, but we heard about them all the same.

What did I learn from all this?  I learned how to be a realist.  Oh, that does not mean I did not have my own dreams.  Some have come to pass and others have gone to the wayside.  Whatever my dreams were I knew when to drop the pie in the sky dreams and concentrate on the ones that were realistic.  People talk about the optimist and pessimist.  You know the one that goes “The optimist sees the glass as half full and the pessimist sees the glass as half empty.”  No one ever thinks about how the realist sees the glass, he sees it neither half full nor half empty, he just knows that someone must wash and put the glass away after it is finally empty.

I had dreamed at one time, that after I retired, Kathy and I would go back to Europe traveling around and finally renting a small villa in an Italian village, where we could shop in the local market, learn some Italian and relax, using the villa as a home base traveling the country, enjoying the good life.  After I finally retired Kathy said that she really did not want to do all that traveling.  Then she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease that caused me to realize that this was not a dream I would realize.

One dream that did come to pass, was when my daughter asked me to go with her to Hawaii after she had graduated from College.  Kathy and I had promised that when she finished school we would send her to Hawaii as our present for graduation.  She did not want to go alone and she did not have any close friends to ask.  I had longed to go back to Hawaii, after a brief stop in 1970, as part of the long journey to Vietnam.  My dream came true and Lara and I had time that many fathers wished they had had with their daughter(s).

Now I temper my dreams with a stiff shot of realism.  It does not stop the dreaming or the desire to do something.  It just reminds me that there are dreams and there are realities and my realities must take priority over the dreams.

Today I received two beautiful cards, one from my wife with a very special message that only a wife and mother can give to a father and husband, the other from my daughter, her card is very special to me, it is one of those cards that is placed in a very special place in the heart and displayed for a very long time.

Finally, I want to thank Dad for giving me the gift of dreaming, but also the greater gift of realizing when dreams must end.  It is not easy to make that decision when a dream ends, but it is worth every moment of dreaming and finally setting them aside.

 

Gains and Tribulations

Recently I wrote about losses.  Losses are hard on the spirit and relationships, but we need the losses to learn how to appreciate the gains we also experience in our lives.

About 11 months ago we lost a family member who had only been with us for a year.  Chloe was a sweet little girl, but as the cancer started to take hold she was becoming more aggressive towards people other than Kathy and I.  It was a big loss for us because it was a loss of two dogs in two years.  We said that was the end of it we were not going to get another dog.

Well you know how decisions such as these go.  During the last year I would go on the local websites and look at the dogs, getting my puppy fix I would say.  Then some weeks ago when I clicked on the Oregon Humane Societies (OHS) website there waIMG_0487s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, not one but two.  They came from the same family but they were not siblings.  I showed the pictures to Kathy and she fell for the female, we decided that we would try for one of them. I was up early the next morning and found myself fifth in line.  When I got to the desk I learned that someone had already put a hold on the male and I was the first to put a hold on the female named Kiki.

After visiting with her I went back to the desk and placed a formal hold on Kiki.  Kathy had an appointment at noon, after which we proceeded to OHS for Kathy to visit and evaluate Kiki.  As soon as Kiki walked into the room she engaged with Kathy immediately.  The longer we were in the visiting room the closer they were getting.  We decided that we would adopt this little girl. First thing was to change the name from Kiki to Katie, she has responded to the change like a champ.

The first night we were taken a back, we were told in the information given to us that she was house broken.  We took them at their word, big mistake.  She peed and pooped in several places in the living room and hallway.  We know that she was kenneled a great amount of time and to have that much freedom all at once was probably too much.  The next day we got a kennel which she loves and utilizes a lot, we keep the door open during the day and closed at night.

Each day Katie’s bond with us is stronger and stronger.  She wants to be with us as much as possible.  Being only 22 months she is fully grown, but she still has quite a bit of puppy left.  It is a joy for us to see her playing with her toys.  Cavalier King Charles are known for their character, boy can she be a character.  With her presence and playfulness Kathy has perked up and is more of her old self.

Kathy’s nurse practitioner is writing a letter for Katie to be an emotional companion dog.  I’m hoping that we get it soon.

When I take Katie out for her walk and we pass the garage door she stops and waits for me to open it, or if she sees the car parked in the lot she heads straight for it ready to get in.  Somehow she has become a great enthusiast to riding in the car.  She would ride all day if we gave her the chance.

Something I had never considered before was, do dogs have a preference to which side they prefer?  In other words which hand or paw are they?  All of our other dogs we think were right-handed.  Before we give them their meal we have them do some tricks, one is to turn in circles, all our dogs have always turned clockwise but not Katie she turns counter-clockwise.  When we come in from a walk she will run in circles, always to the left, while I am getting the door open.

We encourage her to run in our apartment, wearing herself out and making us laugh.  After all this running she is ready to settle down with Kathy on the couch.  Most of the time she lays down on the pillows above Kathy’s head, on top of her or at her feet.

Katie is fitting in just nicely.  We look forward to many years of fun ahead.