Happy Father’s Day

I lost my dad to prostate cancer in 1994. We took care of him in the last few months of his long life (85). He died in my arms. He spent his last few weeks on morphine to dull what he described as horrible pain, but on the last couple of days, when I put the pills to his lips, he spit them out. He couldn’t talk, could barely move, but I knew he was all there inside, sensing transition and wanting to experience his last days of life with drug-free clarity.

Dad had 5 brothers and 2 sisters, all of them now gone. Richard was the youngest brother, who left us in 2008. Dad spent the last decades of his life near his closest brother in the Nevada desert. He and Henry loved the desert. Henry had a favorite place he would go, miles into the Nevada wilderness. His ashes are spread in that place. My dad directed us to spread his ashes in the same place. A few years later, his brother Raymond also asked to be remembered in the same wilderness. Maybe someday I will do the same.

My dad was an avid golfer all his adult life, until the cancer prevented him from walking. Some of my greatest memories are playing golf with dad and always being in awe of his skill. He loved to play golf at Lake Tahoe. One day, a freak August electrical storm rolled in without warning and struck him on the 3rd fairway. I still have the front page newspaper clipping from 1965. The headline read:   “Lightning KO’s Golfers”


We were tent camping that week. When he came back from Barton emergency room (broken finger), the first thing he said to us (in his gruff, matter-of-fact manner) was:  “we’re getting a motel.”

The urn I brought to his memorial in the desert was a sealed copper canister. In fact, it was sealed so well, I couldn’t get it open. Raymond and I considered our options and rummaged around the rental cars for something that might pry the lid. And then we found it – a golf course green repair tool. It worked splendidly, and we knew dad was smiling down on us. When we spread his ashes, we added some golf balls, tees, and of course the green repair tool.


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