Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dad's Hands

Dad’s hands were some of the most worn I have ever seen. He never used them to play an instrument, and he never used them to braid his daughters’ hair (though how he tried). With his hands he never gave any great speeches or ran them through riches, but dad’s hands were far more precious than silver and gold. Dad’s hands had fixed cars, forged metal and molded gold. His hands painted picture, calmed children and welcomed lost ones home. He saved lives, helped other and held lives as they passed to our father’s home.

With his hands dad taught, and wrote ancient texts. He took stone and clay and molded them

into works that’s rival no man can claim. His hands helped to heal the sick and assisted injured animals grow strong. He healed wounds of flesh and soul, and when times called for it he would let you know you had done wrong.

My dad’s hands were never beautiful to look at. The nails were always full of dirt and grease. He had calluses so hard sometime he could hardly move them. They were worn and torn from years of hard work, but no other hands were ever so gentle. Each year he would plant a garden and watch it grow. Each year he would fix and patch up what needed mending. They were quick to help or wipe away tears. They were quick to embrace a loved one to let them know he cared. With his hands he helped raise his children, show love, and ease fears.

Dad’s hands may not have been beautiful to sight but they were precious in so many other ways. You hear poems about a father’s hands, their strength, tenderness and love, but nothing can replace their loss when a father is gone.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The First True Voyage of the Lady of the Lake

Dad had just bought a boat, and it was his pride and joy. It was a 30’s model boat that he had gotten from a guy in Duchesne. He had gone on a dive mission for the fellow in Strawberry Reservoir. He did not find the man’s missing engine but he did return home with a motor boat. You should have seen the look on mom’s face when we got back.

We were on the way to Jackson Hole for the boats maiden voyage. My friend Charmayne was with us and we had been crammed in the cab of dad’s truck for hours. We had just made it to the guard station when I guy asked us to pull over and told us that the prop on the boat had been dragging against the ground for the last ten miles. Dad began spouting four letter words like only dad could. He got back in the truck and was on the verge of turning the truck around and going home. At the last minute he put the truck in drive and we joined the long line heading into Teton Park.

It was a family reunion on dad’s side of the family and Mayne and I spent most of our time kayaking and playing with Christa in the lake. Christa was dad’s best friend and the pup had him wrapped around her paw. She was a border collie and was as smart as can be. She loved to play fetch and enjoyed it when dad would throw the ball into the lake. She couldn’t swim and hated anything that was deeper than her chin. At least once in every game of fetch dad would throw the ball and a wind would come up pushing the ball out of Christa’s reach. She would cry and cry running from dad to the water’s edge her big brown eyes pleading for him to save her toy. Completely dressed dad would take off the control pack for his TENS and stride out into the waves to save the imperiled ball. He would come ashore and Christa would greet him like the savior of mankind.

One night everyone decided that they were going to one of the docks to have pizza (we were staying on an island kinda thing) and everyone had to boat over to the pizza place. Dad had taught me how to drive The Lady of the Lake on Sandwash and I had helped drive it over to the camp. Dad had had a couple of drinks and so he put Mayne in charge of the boat. She hadn’t been in a boat until this trip. Needless to say she was a wee bit nervous. Dad told her where to go and I did my best to help. We made it to dock and dad jumped off the boat to tie us up. He turned to grab a rope and a wave came up and caught the boat. Not being quite himself dad reached out and grabbed the boat. It kept moving farther and farther away. Being the stubborn man he was dad clung to the boat until it drifted about 6 feet and 2 inches away. Without even trying to stop himself dad went in. I don’t know how he managed it but the top two feet of him managed to stay dry. He didn’t lose his hat to the lake and his glasses remained on his head. He pulled himself out of the drink and scrambled up on to the dock like nothing had happened. Most guys would at least be blushing but dad just grinned from ear to ear and said “Well that was stupid”.

We did make it into the pizza place and dad sat there with the rest of us eating pizza and dripping on the floor like he had wet himself. Dad being dad was the first one to point this out. In fact I think he was quite proud that he was a spectacle. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in my life.

Pictures of Jackson Lake take by Haylee Toland 2010

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fishing with Dad ;-)

I have never been a big fan on fishing but dad always loved it and so I would always go to make sure that dad didn’t feel bad. He spent hours on the front lawn teaching me how to cast with a fly rode, and more than once I did manage to catch something while practicing. The sad thing was it was usually dad or Christa. When we went up Gray’s River for a family reunion, dad made sure that Lex and I went fishing.

Dad loved to fish in the small streams in the canyons. It was like declaring war on the fish. We were not allowed to talk after we got within 20 yards of the stream and usually had to army crawl to the back. It never failed that dad would always send me into a bunch of thistles or stinging nettle. The thing is it’s not really hard to army crawl, at least not normally. But when you are carrying a fishing pole that is twice your height, that’s when things become tricky. I still to this day do not know how dad managed it. He slid across the ground like the Grinch fro

m How the Grinch Stole Christmas. His long lanky frame would seem to slide around the bushes and between the rocks. Somehow he would slither around the tree and peek around it to see where his quarry was hiding. Sometimes he would first peer over the edge of the stream just like Tom spying on Jerry.

After assessing the situation he would give us hand signals. They were as clip and precise as anything special recon would use… but he always forgot to tell us what in the heck they meant. Mostly it was guess work. You would have to watch the hand motions crawl across the ground and watch his face to see if you were doing things right.

Dad would never yell when you did something wrong, but he would grimace like man who had just smashed his finger with a hammer. I would crawl across the ground with all the grace of floundering fish and make my way, oh so gingerly through whatever sharp and pointy brush he had sent me through. Lex would army crawl through the tall grass her pole flipping back and forth like a banner waving. We would cast into the home of the unsuspecting fish and… well most of the time get nothing. If anyone caught something it was likely to be dad. He would look at his sliver prize and toss it back into the stream saying it was too small. This did not mean that Lex and I got nothing for all of our effort. I was the supreme master of rock catching and Lex could snag a tree at thirty paces.

After Lex moved away and couldn’t get home enough to go fishing, dad found another fishing addict. Andrew seemed more than willing to go fishing with dad, though by this time dad had a sea worthy boat and I’m not sure he every had to play guerrilla warfare with the fish. My fist experience with this new team of fishermen was at Starvation Reservoir. We were on dad’s 30’s model boat -that always reminded me a bit of an owl- her name was The Lady of the Lake an name inspired by a picture I had drawn in high school. I was a hot day on the water and I spent most of my time sitting on the bow of the boat eating potato chips and wishing I could jump into the water (I had always been more of swimmer than a fisher), but knew it would make the disgruntled fishers even more disgruntled… if that were indeed possible. Dad never had to take breaks when fishing. Food was an afterthought and as long as he had a small thermos of tea he could go all day. Hunger and dehydration meant nothing to him. There were times when Lex and I compared our father’s ability to go without water to a desert loving camel.

Dad had just got a new fish-finder and was testing it out. The problem was that the fish-finder seemed to have been seeing things. The water was clear and though the damn thing said that there were fish right below our feet, there was nothing but water. Dad and Andrew tried for hours and finally we took up a position over a submerged island. Here we could see behemoths swimming below, but try as they might the fish were no more temped by their lures than they would have been by a passing shark. After about 30 minutes Andrew threw down his pole screaming at the fish as he jumped up and down, fists clenched in rage. For those of you who don’t know Andrew, picture Frodo Baggins dressed in camouflage screaming at the fish (this image should give you the basic idea).

Dad started laughing so hard his face turned red, but it was the quiet laughter that dad always had so I don’t thing Andrew heard it over his ranting. Being a master of deception (when it favored him) dad was grim and straight faced by the time Andrew turned around. Dad managed to keep his composer until it was just dad and I in Old Red (or better known as the Dinosaur) at which point dad was laughing so hard he could barely drive.

Being the great fishermen they are dad and Andrew did not let being beaten by a bunch of fish go. Year after year they stormed the lake wishing to take revenge on this slight, though to this day I do not believe the fish have ever had a better show.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wedding video and extras,

This is another video Kerron found for us. I think that sometime we might be able to get Haylee to add some music and stuff.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

video from a family activity

This is a video my cousin Kerron emailed.
We had a family gathering to put on a play that one of my cousins wrote. It's a super short video of mom and dad.
I can't believe how young they look.