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Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Remembering my Dad...

My son Joseph, me, my dad and my oldest brother Glenn

He was a hard man to get to know.

Stories and information never came easily to him.  He kept his own counsel and preferred to not look back, come hell or high water.  One of his favorite sayings when I was a kid.

If you asked the right questions, you got the answer you so desperately were seeking, but that was the tricky part with him.  Knowing what to ask.  Maybe that’s where I got it from.

He was a classic from his era.  I remember him at the barbecue years ago.  It was one of those brazier types.  You know the type... round grill, mottled silver wind shade.  He would cook in his khaki colored pants and a white undershirt.  Burgers usually, but every once in a while, steak.

He was World War Two vet, a veteran of the tanker wars, on which he sailed.  After the war those Merchant Marine sailors were not considered real vets.  They sailed in service of our country, took fire, and in many cases died for the cause at the hands of Hitler’s U-Boats, but it was not until the Clinton Administration that our government righted a wrong and conferred veteran status on these brave men, but you had to apply for it.

He never did.  Too much work, besides, he knew what he did as a bridge officer on those massive ships and didn’t want a fuss made.  Seems old fashioned these days.

He wasn’t real good in marriage, probably because he wasn’t a real open guy.  Maybe you have to see the opening of Saving Private Ryan to know why.  Some people have seen stuff so bad they prefer to keep the doors to emotions closed.  It’s safer that way.

In all my life I saw him cry only once, when his grandmother died and his brother sang How Great Thou Art at her funeral.

But he made me cry a lot.  He was a hard man, sometimes awfully so.  He was from another era.  In his day if you behaved badly, you weren’t sent to time out, you got the crap beat out you... literally, and that was how he raised his kids.  That was how he raised me.  

But he had a heart.

I remember when he told me he and mom were getting a divorce.  That didn’t happen alot back in the early 1970’s.  I was really broken up and couldn’t stop crying.  As a 13 year old boy, my world was crumbling.  He took me in his arms and held me for hours as I cried, telling me it would be alright.  It was one of the best moments of my life with my dad.

Early this morning my dad passed away, on his terms, just as he lived his life.  He was in his house, in his own bed, having avoided the dreaded hospital, nursing home, care center and countless unnecessary doctor bills.

As he aged, he mellowed, becoming more reflective and the stories started to come out.

Diving from the deck of his tanker off the coast of Iran to cool off in 110 degree days.  Getting his jobs at Union Oil and later the Los Angeles Times.  Working as a candy salesman for his father-in-law.  Fishing trips to the Salton Sea or the Colorado River.  

He would sit in his chair and just tell me stuff.  I didn’t even have to ask anymore.  Maybe sensing the end was near, he had no reason to hold back.  But we could also just sit quietly together, content to be in each others company.  That I’ll miss.  

Rest in Peace Dad

Donald Treat Miller
June 9, 1924 - January 31, 2013


Comments on "Remembering my Dad..."

 

Anonymous Tommy Park said ... (3:04 PM) : 

Sorry to hear about your loss, Dave. What a great tribute to your dad, and may the good memories you shared together continue to bring you peace and comfort. My dad passed away 15 years ago, and I still treasure those times we had together. Praying for you bro.

 

Blogger Jim Tripp said ... (4:48 PM) : 

What a nice, honest, write-up about your dad. Sorry for your loss. I know it isn't much consolation but consider yourself blessed to have had him all those years. I only had my dad 20 years so I can imagine what it would have been like to have had him around that much longer.

 

Blogger Leslie Parsley said ... (7:27 AM) : 

What a poignant testimonial to your dad. I'm so very sorry for you and your family but I'm happy the time came when you didn't have to ask anymore.

 

Blogger Shaw Kenawe said ... (7:40 PM) : 

So sorry to hear about your father's passing. Keep his memory close to your heart, and he will always be part of you.

This is how I dealt with my father's passing. I think of him every day.

My condolences to you and your family.

Shaw

 

Blogger dmarks said ... (2:27 PM) : 

Sorry for your loss.

 

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