Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Tribute to My Father

A Tribute to My Father--

a Dog Man with Heart

The 20th century, a happy time for dad and mom
By Cal Orey

Tomorrow is Father's Day. Sure, my dad is in Parent Heaven, along with my mom, the love of his life, but that doesn't mean I'm fatherless. Jack is in my mind and heart--his spirit is around me despite the body is gone.
My dad taught me to be competitive, a trait required for authors

We had a love-hate relationship. We didn't see eye to eye on many things: politics, religion, and risk-taking. For instance, he was Protestant, I was baptized and confirmed Catholic. He was Republican, I was Democrat.  He wanted me to be a working dental assistant--not an author. He told me to write on weekends and get a "real" job for security. It was my mom that said, "You can always be a secretary, go to school and be a writer." And I did just that. But I see now my dad wanted me to be comfortable and not suffer from the ups and downs endured by authors in the writing world.
I love my father for teaching the healing powers of swimming

Moving on to the feel-good pleasures I will always be thankful to my father. Dad taught me how to swim and how swimming is a great exercise and way to chill.  As a little girl I remember going to a club in south San Jose with two huge pools, swim club to compete, a soothing Los Gatos lodge where we'd swim and sun all day. And now, I swim every other day at a resort pool and other spots year round. I give sincere thanks to him for this exercise for the mind, body, and spirit.

I have my dad's red hair, brown eyes
And that leads me to the wide wonderful world of dogs. Canines are another link to me and my dad. He was the one that got us a Boxer...a Dalmatian, Norwegian Elkhound, and Llasa Apso. I loved each one of these dogs. In fact, my bond with the dog followed me in my travels hitchhiking across America, Canada, and Mexico. Each day, now in the present, when I awake to my Brittany and Aussie, it's a link to my father--a dog man like authors John Steinbeck, Jack London,  and cartoonist Charles Schulz, three dog men (who reminded me of dad in many ways with their characteristics) whom I've written about in books and articles.
Trees, water, a dog like our Norwegian Elkhound

Moving on to men. My father picked up on my independent nature and feisty, masculine personality. I am outspoken and do not like to be told what to do. He actually forecasted that I wouldn't marry and the disease that took his life to another place. (Born on October 20,  he a Libra/Scorpio cuspy, was an intuitive, like me.) While I have endured three long-term loves I find myself balanced when alone (my father preferred a mate) but flanked by loyal companion animals.
Where I grew up, trees, cozy burbs

My dad was creative. He landscaped our front yard and  backyard complete with a patio. Both areas were like an oasis to me as a kid. Trees in the suburbs were probably the beginning of my love for the mountains... When I grew up I gravitated to forests--ended up living in Santa Cruz mountains and the Sierra, Lake Tahoe. Thank you, Dad...
My sibling loves dogs, water, trees--like my dad

Sunday morning. I am alone. I am amid two dogs and a cat. I am a working author.  I have these things to thank my father for and one sibling. I know my dad and brother developed a close bond; sometimes sibling rivalry existed. But now, my brother and I are best friends. He's like my surrogate dad...and he, too, loves dogs, swimming, trees. So I've come full circle. Thank you Dad. Happy Father's Day. We love you now and always. I hope they have golf courses, infinity swimming pools, and dogs in heaven.

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