I remember one time, in the second grade, Dad and I went fishing one morning - 5:30 AM early. We drove to the lake, and after a while of fishing,
I got bored because the fish hadn't starting biting, so I went walking out on a tree over the shoreline, and stopped at the end, over about five
feet of water. As I turned around to walk back.... I skipped and fell in with a giant "kerploosh!". On our way home, to get me into some dry clothes,
I told Dad I was so sorry for ending our fishing outing. He just grinned, and said that we were coming right back out, I just did us a favor and woke
the fish up. And we did go right back out, and caught at least a hundred nice bluegill and redears. I always admired how he handled situations -
I never forgot how cool he was that time.
Well, he always was. Another time, one afternoon, the fish weren't biting as we sat out in our 17 foot canoe, and I was still a youngster, and I got
fidgety. He looked at me, and asked me how high I thought the sky was. Well, that turned into a long, very interesting conversation about how if the
sky/universe ended, and if it did, well, what was beyond that end? And, sure enough, before we figured it all out, the fish started biting.
Before I got my first shotgun, in the fifth grade, he said they'd get me one, but I'd have to carry my bbgun when we went hunting, and I
had to always carry it per his safety rules. For that whole year in the 4th grade. Sure enough, I did, and I still have that old 12 gauge single shot today.
I've always learned a ton of cool things from my Dad - he always could make you laugh in his quiet way, and was always so very smart,
and knew the outdoors stuff like crazy. We fixed all our own cars over all those years. He could fix anything - he really could. He'd just figure it out,
and never once get tired of tackling fix it jobs.
And watching Browns games together all these years, I always knew I would take us to a Browns superbowl no matter what it would cost.
We went to a last Browns game, this year - preseason, tickets compliments of a great friend. He had a tough time doing all the walking to the stadium and to
our seats, but simply joked about it the entire time.
We always dreamed how great that would be - going in person to that superbowl. All the lost years of wasted coaching picks, bad drafts, stupid personnel people.......
and it's all gone now. I'll never go to one. That dream died tonight.
I have always admired him. We have always been friends in a huge way, me and Dad.
But tonight, after several bouts of cancer over the years, we lost him. Too many things hit him at one time, this time.
There isn't one man on earth I would have wanted to be my Dad instead of him. He was 85 - a long time to hang in there, with us, watching the Browns every single
season. I'm a very lucky guy, but it doesn't make the heartbreak stay away.
Goodbye, Browns Super Bowl Dreams. One day, I'll see him again - and I'll tell him I'm ai sorry we never made those superbowl dreams come true.
And, sure enough, he'll grin at me, and talk about where the sky ends, if it does, until the fish starting hitting. Goodbye, Dad. Love you always and forever.