The Absent Uncle: My Dad

D.C. Schultz, guest columnist

This is the second column idea that the recent cold snap kindled. Column ideas are very personal, and this one defines that.

I joined the Navy in 1971 and served through 1975. Prior to my discharge, I had decided to enroll in a California university and not return to Minnesota upon my discharge.

My father had suffered a number of strokes shortly before my discharge. They had changed him and limited some of his mobility. He was not pleased with my decision to not return to Minnesota after my discharge from the Navy. He just couldn’t accept it.

As we discussed my decision – by telephone – I expressed the reason for my not returning to Minnesota. Serious or not, it was: “Dad, you don’t have to shovel sunshine”.

Was it serious or not? He just sighed and really didn’t accept my excuse.

His condition continued to deteriorate over the next few years – my shovel sunshine excuse always there – but never discussed. He never said, “Please come home.” I didn’t return, except for occasional visits.

Now years later, as this piece of cold weather passes through, somehow, I am reminded of my dad. What if he would have said, “Son, please come home.” Would have I traded the sunshine for the snow shovel?

I don’t know.



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