By Rosi Green
I come from the far too common “broken family,” although I never defined it as that while growing up. Mom and Dad had a surprising and early start to parenting and things ended up as they would. I spent about two thirds of my time with Mom on the south central coast of Oregon in Yachats and about one third with my Dad in the fertile Willamette Valley on our farm in the Silverton hills.
I never realized the efforts and care he put into being my Dad until I had my own grown- up life to contend with. It’s amazing how responsibility breeds respect for our elders. Some of my favorite memories of my childhood are the long rides in our ’64 Chevy Impala from the beach to the valley and back; frequent trips, just me and my dad. We would tell stories and laugh on the red upholstery for hours upon hours, catching up.
In between these rides as we addressed our lives, we would fight. I would despise him for telling me what to do, making me work on the farm and sequestering me miles and miles from my friends and the bustling town of Silverton. (Coming from Yachats, Silverton was a bustling metropolis.)
My Dad died when I was only 21 and just barely learning to appreciate him and the effort it took for him to stay connected. I’m thankful he walked me down the isle to give me to the love of my life. I’m devastated my children don’t know him and won’t experience the torture of his relentless teasing.
What I’m most haunted by is my last view of his face as he rocked on a loose brick of my aunt’s fireplace. Troubled that I didn’t hug him right then and tell him how much I love him. I’m saddened that I didn’t thank him for all those long car rides, for building me forts and for teaching me a rock solid work ethic – but mostly, for being in my life and putting out the effort to love me. His love changed my life and I send him my gratitude now, years too late.