My dad had the endearing habit of frequently using the police code “10-4” when he was replying in the affirmative to something someone said to him.
“Dad. Let’s trailer the boat over to La Court Oreilles, catch a couple of walleyes and then grab a beer and a burger at Beechmoor.”
10-4 became part of our family vernacular and our preferred alternative to ‘yes.’
So when my Dad passed way on October 4th 2005, it was both incredibly painful and numerically appropriate.
Nine years to that day finds me sitting twenty feet in the air in my treestand in rural Dane County. A treestand has always been a good perch for me to reflect and think.
Nine years is a big chunk of a man’s life.
Today, I want to think about my Dad. But as I unpack the wonderful memories of him and our life together, events of the years since he’s been gone conspire to invade my thoughts.
The unwanted and bitter reminders of those who are not here or will soon be gone often push more pleasant, happier thoughts aside.
Grief is a bully.
All fathers die. Today I also mourn the passing of Tom Mulhern, father to Greg, Chris, and Will, and godfather and uncle to my wife. “Great” is an overused word. Trust me on this, though—Tom Mulhern was a great man and an even better family man.
So it’s October 4th and I’m reminiscing about the man who first took me outdoors and whose DNA, enthusiasm, and guidance guaranteed I’d try to spend every waking moment outdoors.
It feels right, this solitary reflection under an early fall sky. It rained overnight and the first snow of the season flew this morning. It’s gray and cold and windy. It’s perfect.
A man must be comfortable in his own skin to contemplate and accept the crushing sadness he ultimately must bear throughout his life.
It’s a good life, Dad.