Perfection isn’t the measure of a man. His ability to demonstrate integrity (as in, consistency across life’s elements), humility and forbearance are more important. So is raising children to enter a confusing, beautiful world with some practical skills.
Here’s a partial list of my Dad’s contribution to the next generation. This, to celebrate this Day, his life and his passing last May.
TIE A BOAT TO A DOCK so it doesn’t drift away. The same for a beached canoe – particularly when the dam upstream lets out in the middle of the night and the water rises two feet.
MAKE A FIRE IN THE SNOW and know you can boil water to stay warm and comfort chilled fellow trekkers.
SHARPEN BOTH SIDES OF A KNIFE to let it cut clean and true through sausage and rope. Or ropes of sausage.
CLEAN CORRODED FLASHLIGHT BATTERY CONTACTS when the cells go bad and a light source is essential.
MAKE TENT GUYLINES ADJUSTABLE so your shelter can be snugged up in the face of wind, wet and rope stretch. Two or three half-hitches work every time.
CARRY FIRST AID SUPPLIES – including gauze and tape – to render assistance. Don’t forget a bandana, either, as it solves lots of the world’s problems.
LASH POLES OR LIMBS TOGETHER, fabricating packs, shelters and even crutches nearly out of thin air.
FIX A TIRE FLAT IN THE DARK because that’s when they happen.
LEAVE NO TRACE when traveling or camping in the backcountry, including returning groundcover to bare spots.
FIND THE NORTH STAR so you’ll never truly be lost.