Den of the Beastly Bear
I know, I know....it's been a while.
No real excuse, just got out of the habit.
Today is Father's Day...I lost my Dad almost five years ago to lymphoma.
So instead of a cookout and a carrot cake (my Dad LOVED Mama Bears carrot cake) it was a trip out to the cemetery.
I took instead another of my father's favorite things,
Jack Daniels Bourbon whiskey. I did a shot with Dad in rememberence of better days. Well, I did a shot...Dad's was poured upon his grave.
That swig of Jack took me back...
Years ago my Dad and Step Mom (who was never like a step to me) used to go camping every 4th. of July week at South Higgins Lake State park. They went with other family and friends and between them they took up about 8 camp sites.
This tradition started around my junior year in High school and continued on for a decade or more.
It was always a great time, I got along well with my step siblings and I went every year that I could.
Our days were spent hiking, swimming, and walking the park. My step Uncle Bob was the "King of speed boating" and always brought the coolest boats!!! He was more than willing to give every and all a ride. My favorite was a black picklefork(hydroplane) with a built 454 cu. inch marine engine that would do well over 80 mph on calm water.
Evenings were spent around a campfire...and with not much else to do, talk and drink. Back then the legal drinking age was 18.
One year there was to be a lunar eclipse during our time there, and of course we were determined to see it ...weather permitting.
We were sitting around the campfire as the hour grew late...the younger kids hit the tent. A long day of activities wearing them right out. Finally the womenfolk had had enough, and they turned in as well. Leaving about ten of the guys to drink beer and wait.
Someone produced a half gallon of Jack Daniels, the seal was broken and it started making its way around the campfire.
Now my Dad was a quiet, unassuming man(this definitely skipped a generation)...hardly the type you'd have pegged as an ex-Marine. But as the Jack made it's way around the group, it's effects lubricated Dad's jaw to the point he was becoming quite talkative!
The bottle was well past half empty it's fifth or sixth time around, when it came back to my Dad.
He was sitting next to me on a log we had drug out of the woods, when he lurched to his feet.
He held the bottle over his head and raised a hand for silence. When he had our attention he began:
"I have been a Marine! I've been around this big wide world more than once, and I've been drunk on everything there is to be drunk on! And I'm here to tell ya, there ain't NUTHIN' better than Jack Daniels!!!"
He allowed the wisdom of this to sink in a moment before adding:
"HEY! Something's eating the moon!!!"
At which point our attention was diverted from the virtues of Jack Daniels to the occurring lunar eclipse above us.
That was one of the few times I saw my Dad unresserved, a rare and refreshing glimpse into the uncensored mind of my father.
Sadly those glimpses were too few and far between, and now are just memories.
Happy Fathers Day Dad,
Be Well Folks,