Father Acted Tough With The Kids But They Knew How Much He Loved Them.
Story by Dee Ann E.L. Horvath
Whenever I smell the perfume of a spring fed lake, it takes me back in time to a place long ago. Where discovery of life was my job of choice and the echoes of the lake loon my voice. Every new day offered a mystery to solve. My sister and I were dedicated and on the prowl, following a turtle to where she laid her eggs. Waiting patiently for months to see the marvel of life exploding out of the earth and their race to the water. We mothered orphaned raccoons making the kitchen our laboratory mixing dozens of different formulas to duplicate nature. I remember how their fingers were like that of little human beings holding onto us as we fed them out of baby doll bottles. Out of three we lost two but our mother was proud at our determination for she said without us there would have been one less raccoon in Wisconsin. Fishing was our mainstay of entertainment after mud pies and baby dolls. As very small children we learned what patience can produce. The thrill of the catch and the delicious treat at the end of the day was a wonderful part of our life back then.
Watching the seasons change and the wildlife around us taught us to appreciate all of nature and mother earth. Caterpillars to chrysalises to butterflies, birth, death, and the wrath of nature at its’ very worst forever engraved an image in our minds. Tornadoes ripping trees from the earth, bobcats at our front door when the cold winter froze the lake and the island creatures ventured forth, taught us to be prepared for anything so we could survive.
Our father was gone a lot so our mother showed us how strong women can be by making games out of every misfortune. Making a banquet out of odds and ends and lighting candles. Pretending that it was our choice and not the fact the electricity was out and so was our father. Our dad was so different from our mother. She was outwardly loving and affectionate. He had been brought up to mask his emotions and by doing so he would be strong. We knew he loved us but we had to be quick to catch his smiles or that special look in his eyes. He taught my sister and I to be good sportsmen and only take what we needed so nature could replenish and so could we. His heritage meant a great deal to him and in turn he instilled in us an inner pride that to this day still resides in us.
Even though my parents are now gone from this earth, we truly are part of them and for what it is worth, my sister and I are who we are today because of those two people and what they had to offer. Looking back at the past and nature’s lessons has helped my sister and I not be heartsick for long when something dreadful befalls us. All we have to do is go to a lake, take in the perfume, renew ourselves as well as remembering that we are part of this remarkable world and that we are remarkable too.