You could give Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Ferlinghetti a run for their money.
You’re a vagabond. You’ve experienced all that I’ve ever imagined and much more.
You’ve lived through The Korean War, the first color TV, the introduction of Rock ‘N Roll, The Man on The Moon, The Vietnam War, The Assassination of JFK, The Civil Rights Movement, The Beatles, The Assassination of MLK Jr., Manson Murders, and Woodstock. You’ve climbed Mt. Everest, a dangerous, alluring adventure only heard in about in writing. All things I’ve frequently read about, only envisioning what it would be like to truly live during such iconic events.
You’ve lived a myriad of lifestyles as many different men.
You were raised on a farm, a family of six in the Midwest. Your mother never worked and you helped care for your younger siblings. You were taught to be a defender and a leader from the very start.
Your father was a surgeon and you were trained to be one as well, to be the bread winner for your future family.
The ’60s arrived and during Medical School you were told to cut your hair and shave your beard. You refused to, so you got in your car, left the authoritarian, tedious everyday life, and drove to Portland, Oregon.
There you lived in a commune with 12 others. You had goats and wild animals running in and out of your overcrowded house. You were a vegetarian, an artist, and an activist. You were a hippie.
Soon you decided to ditch that routine and live on your own in a tent with your two dogs. You were free and content. You lived string less and independent. You wrote, wrote, wrote.
You traveled, you experienced, you lived.
You witnessed the live music of striking, electrifying musicians, the ones I now know and love; The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, and more.
In the Spring of 1975 you returned to North Dakota. You worked for yourself creating cabinetry and other wood work. You were (are) so innovative and hands on it’s surreal. Here in North Dakota, you met your life, your love, your soulmate; my mom.
You saw her once at the Tech School and said to your friend, “Who is that girl? I need to meet her.”
Her hair was long, auburn, and stunning. She was a drawer, a painter, a visionary. She was elegant and willowy with lively green eyes and a blithe walk. You were going to marry her.
Three months later, you did just that. You were 25 and she was 18.
Together, the two of you lived through poverty, art, cheap beer and fried chicken for dinner. You lived in a kind soul’s barn, a 800 sq. foot house made for two, but somehow ended up fitting four.
Years later, with two children and one unexpectedly on the way, you decided to build your family a home. You didn’t have a license and you only faintly knew of architecture, but somehow, you made it happen.
You built in a cosmic field with only one other house in the vicinity of yours. You worked all day and all night to provide for your family. This house has continued to be one of the most treasured objects belonging to our family.
Eight years later, another child was, once again, surprisingly born.
That child was me.
That house was where I was raised and where you still live.
Throughout everything, whether you know it or not, you’ve taught me freedom, literature, beauty, music, peace, willpower, and the significance of family. You, with mom, have been the ultimate inspirational humans to me. I am beyond obliged to call you my father. I see myself daily in both you and mom. I was raised differently than others. My life growing up was vivacious, carefree, and unstructured. Sometimes I felt like an only child, but at the same time, I felt like I had more family than I merited.
You have been so loyal throughout my ways. We haven’t always been close, but the older I get, the closer we become.
We spend every Sunday together and it is a time that I will forever value. We are similar in the sense that we have never been very vocal about our gratitude for each other, yet I know you know how important our time is together. One day, we will no longer have our Sundays together and to me, that is an unbearable thought.
You have lived through so many different generations, so many occasions. You are so many people all in one, but most notably, you are my father and I am your daughter.