Helllllloooo, weekend! Can you believe it? We’re at the weekend again already. I feel like the older I get, the quicker time is going. We are down to something like 33 days or so until we fly off to Missouri to see Alex. (See the countdown timer here.) I can’t wait to give him a big ol’ squeezer hug (that’s what he used to call them when he was about four). Though I am a little scared. That kid told me he’s gained about 20 lbs since he’s been away and it’s not in flab. He might just squeeze me til I pop!
Friday Fun Fact:
I hope you’ll be okay with this… I’m putting today’s Friday Fun Fact and any recipes on hold for a special tribute. Yesterday would have been my father-in-law’s 81st birthday and I see it fitting that I honor him and his family with today’s post. I think by reading about him, you’ll get a flavor of what a great guy he was, what kind of boys he raised and how his love for the outdoors lives on through others.
Dave was a simple man — pretty quiet, didn’t ask for much. Born in 1932, he was married to the love of his life for 48 years. They had four boys (H³ is the second oldest). He taught his boys well by demonstrating a deep love for everyone. After retiring, he & his bride even traveled to Peru to do mission work — he as an engineer, she as a teacher. I met the family not long after they returned from their trip and was impressed by the compassion in that household. (Like father, like son)
The man was a hiker. When I first met my Handsome Healthy Hubby, he talked of hiking with his dad from the time he was a young teen. I’d never hiked, so I thought they went to a park and spent the day looking at flowers. Ha Ha! Yeah, they went to a park all right. They went to God’s park. I’m talking the wilderness. They’d lace up their boots and strap on their packs filled with everything they’d need for the next week and set out to tackle the Great Outdoors. Okay, not too shabby for a 50-something guy and his 30-something son, right? Well, fast forward 20 years. They continued to hike together. I think during that time there were more summers than not that a long-distance hike took place. You see, Dave was an Eagle Scout (the first of three generations of Eagles in the family). Hiking was his passion and that passion was contagious. He just couldn’t quit. One of his last hikes was at the age of 75 climbing Mt. Si and even doing the scramble to reach the peak. Dave hiked with the Boy Scouts, even with Alex’s troop. He was known as Mister Mister Glaze (yes, two Misters) because Alex’s dad was known as Mister Glaze and it was too confusing to have two Mr. Glazes.
I remember hiking up the Mason Lake Trail, which is a fairly steep climb, one year around Dave’s birthday. (I remember, because he stowed away a pie in the trunk that we happily shared upon return to the parking lot.) It was always a slow and steady pace for him, slower than his son, but faster than me. I just kept repeating to myself, “If he can do this at 73, I can surely do it at 38!” I continue that mantra even to this day when we hike and I’m in a tough spot where I want to rest.
So many lessons are learned on the trail it is difficult to put them into words — you just have to live them. Alex keeps a lot of what Grampa taught him tucked away in his mind and has even referred to that knowledge to help him get through his training, no matter if it’s the physical or emotional demands. Don’t stop, just keep going. When procrastination seemed to be a problem, he would say, “We’re not gettin’ there sittin’ here.” Alex even incorporated those words into a song that he recorded not long after Dave passed away in 2012.
Dave left his footprints on Mt. Rainier more than once. He hiked many, many trails in Washington and walked the path between his home and church so often that I bet there’s a special path worn in the sidewalk. You couldn’t keep the man down. I think that was one of the toughest things to watch as Alzheimer’s slowly immobilized him.
How do you honor someone who had such a love of the outdoors? Go hiking, of course! Last year we wanted to do something to remember Dave on his 80th birthday, so we hiked to Mason Lake. We had a great time and really felt his presence. We’re keeping the tradition and doing it again this weekend and hope to continue each year as long as we’re able. I plan on hiking the Mason Lake Trail when I’m 73 — hopefully at the same pace Dave did.
There’s more to Dave than his hiking. There is his unconditional love, his faith, his ohmygoodness great laugh, his sense of humor, his knowledge of all things mechanical, his amazing woodworking, and bacon — the man loved his bacon — but I remember most his carefree spirit when he was hiking. I miss you, “Dad.”
I’ll see you back here on Monday with a little somethin’ somethin’. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.