Words and Images from Ed Felker

Happy Birthday, Dad

A gold watch. A Winchester Model 94. A trunk full of shooting trophies. A keen appreciation for the outdoors. A fierce sense of loyalty to good friends. A pretty good head of hair and a tendency to let too much beloved beer hang around the midsection.

These are the things I inherited from my Father.

Patrick Edwin Felker would be 76 years old today, but he died almost 35 years ago. Many of his gifts I see in me went unnoticed, regrettably, for decades. But I don’t think I’m alone in that regard. A typical kid of 15 knows hardly anything and appreciates even less. But I watched him live his life — or the portion I was present for — to the very fullest. It was almost as if he knew he had too little time here. Then I watched him fight like hell in an unimaginably long and horrific battle with cancer. One could hardly expect a man so full of passion for life to give it up easily, after all.

I used to think I would be driven by the desire to have made him proud as I navigated the challenges of a full life without him. And I think I said as much for years after I knew it was no longer true. I do of course wish it, but it’s not a force in my life decisions. I am my own man, and while he is part of me, so much time has passed that the lines between his influence and who I am have blurred. I do wish to have made him proud. But mostly I long to have known him as a man. To fish together, hunt together, joke together and add a little bit of girth to the midsection together.

Somewhere along the line, long ago and without really noticing, I think I stopped needing him, and started simply missing him.


9 responses

  1. Beautiful post, Ed. And I’m sure you would have made him proud, because you’re a helluva guy.

    April 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm

  2. Wow! Very touching. A lot of truth in just deeply missing someone we love…Debra

    April 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm

  3. Dan Dalrymple

    Great tribute and a wonderful sentiment. Thanks for being so willing to share. You do a tremendous job of honoring the past and appreciating the present. It is a great gift that you have, and do, allow us to share both times with you through you writing.

    April 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    • Dan, I greatly appreciate your very, very kind words. Thank you. It all seems like two or three lifetimes ago, doesn’t it?

      April 4, 2012 at 9:45 pm

  4. In a way, he is and always will be, with you. Beautifully spoken, Ed.
    [Lovely photo of you two!]

    April 5, 2012 at 3:08 am

  5. Mona

    Well said Ed, well said…….

    April 5, 2012 at 8:26 am

  6. Sissy Quill

    I got all choked up when I got here: “But mostly I long to have known him as a man. To fish together, hunt together, joke together ….”

    I still have my dad and know this joy you long for. Not the hunting and fishing, but stuff like learning to tile my floors, hiking together, and perfectling my golf swing. And he makes me laugh so hard.

    Thank you for this lovely, well-written, and heartlfelt reflection.

    April 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm

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