A tribute to my old man

By BY MARK H. STOWERS COLUMNIST,

Good Mornin’! Good Mornin’!

My dad passed away and you can read his obituary in today’s paper.

As a man of few words, I’d always wished I heard more from him – more instruction, more emotion – well, good emotions, lol. I wish there were more fishing stories to talk about.

He was passionate about hunting and fishing and didn’t talk much about farming. He knew I would bury myself if I tried to work a turnrow as a vocation and career.

The first job offer I told him about after college where I mentioned the pay, he said, “You could make a car payment out of that.” And that was all he said.

He just wanted me to be ok, I reckon.

I turned that job down and my career took many twists and turns that included working as a missionary, working for a printing company making copies, time at a cider mill but always finding a place to write for along the way.

When I finally figured out that filling an ESPN anchor chair or relieving David Letterman from his entertainment duties weren’t in my lap or on the horizon, I turned to writing full time. Folks have told me he was proud of me and I hope he was.

I was and am proud of him.

He started farming as a kid but I know they moved to Inverness in 1947 so he had at least 50 plus harvests over his career.

You don’t last that long if you’re not very good at what you’re doing in any career much less one that fights Mother Nature, the crop futures board and boll weevils. He came out on top enough to put four kids through private school and his partial Bulldog education paid for my whole Rebel one. I’ve always wanted to be as “poor” as him in my own career. I have a long ways to go to even think about achieving that.

I’ve heard tons of stories of his working behind the scenes and his generosity.

And I’d like to find more. His commitment to giving blood, working with the Lions Club and making sure the Inverness UCM’s Brunswick Stew was always a smashing success were the main ones I knew about.

Most of his longtime friends had left before him so the church was filled more with a generation below him that smiled and knew they were going to miss him and his hard work, dedication and commitment. I hope he’s hanging out with his hunting buddies and playing some practical jokes. Hopefully, the crappie are biting in heaven and hunting season won’t be far behind. And if there’s a garden or some minor mechanic-ing that needs to be done, he’ll quietly volunteer and get it done with little or no fanfare.

I miss my dad.

I’d like to tell him he touched more folks than he ever knew.

But then again, he wouldn’t listen and would tell me that there’s too much rain and crop prices are down and find a quiet path of deflection away from himself. He provided and loved me in his own way and I understand that a bit more today than yesterday.

Hopefully, we’ll see other again one day….I can only imagine…

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