as most of you all know, my Dad passed away on March 26, 2015. I did a memorial for him on findagrave which is:
Walter N. Rutledge
When I need to, I go there and have that connection to him.
I have written and re-written this several times as I had the need for it to be perfect, but you know after several attempts, rewrites, tears and more, I have come to a conclusion — it does not need to be perfect, it needs to be my memories, my feelings about my Dad and nothing else. If people don’t read or comment, or anything, it is my release of my feelings for the man I love (I can put loved because I still love him).
Things that I remember.
My Dad was a truck driver — driving the big rigs as they say. There were times that we did not see him because he was doing a long haul but most of his work was in the Lower Mainland, so he left for work in the morning, just before we left for school and then was home for dinner.
Breakfast for my Dad for years was always the same: Frosted Flakes during the week and eggs and bacon and toast on the weekends. Oh, and coffee but though I don’t think all too common for men of his age, he liked a glass of milk.
Dinners in our house, when I look back could be funny. You see, he taught us that what was on your plate, you eat. Your Mother worked hard cooking that meal, you eat it. Well, kids being kids, we didn’t always want to eat what was on the plate — so that would bring out the bell! My Dad would set the clock on the stove for so many minutes and you had better have eaten. And if all 3 of us were still at the table — no talking!!!!!
So, we would make signs — like a ticking clock — tick tick tick then the bell ringing and getting in trouble for not eating. But you know, I don’t think we ever really got in trouble. Mad, sent to our room but nothing really serious.
My Dad use to bring home the most interesting things. Comic books with half the front cover gone was one of them. Apparently, back in those days, when comics were being returned because they had not been sold, half of the front cover would be cut off, so they could not be sold in other places. But somehow, my Dad was always able to get us some.
Another memory is when my Dad worked for a bar in New Westminster. It was called the Eagles Club, just up from Columbia on 4th, I think.
When on a Saturday, after my parents had been shopping or something, sometimes, my Dad would stop at work and take my Mom in for a drink. We 3 kids would have something to play with in the car and Dad would bring out pop and these little sandwiches — I think they were called Cubans but they were so good. I have never found anything that tastes like it now.
Today, you would be in major trouble for leaving your 3 kids in a car, in an alley behind a bar. But we were looked after and never had any problems.
Camping — Dad loved to camp and fish. And he would work all day, while my Mom loaded up the camper. Depending on where we were going, we would either leave right after he got home from work or leave early the next morning. And my poor Dad — if there was one thing that bothered him about camping — it was the driving because at least once or twice or three times or more — he had to help deal with the fact that either Gaile or I would get car sick. Sometimes, we managed to get to a spot where he could pull over and we raced out to get sick at the side of the road but most times, we had paper bags that we used, unless you count the time that I threw up on Gaile’s head (sorry about that sis) and it was something that Ron never forgave me for. While my Mom would deal with us, my Dad would have to clean out the car — something that I know he didn’t enjoy but did.
Then he would loaded his sick girl or girls, his son (who never got sick) and wife back in the car and on the way. And this would be after a day of work or early in the morning.
Our favorite place was owned by people he had known most of his life — The Stockdales — they had a campsite just past Daisy Lake. We camped there every summer for years — weekends and then sometimes 2 weeks if Dad got holidays. We had a tent camper that was parked at the beginning of summer and left til as late in the fall as possible.
There were times when Dad would leave us up there and go home and work for the week and come back on Fridays. I think he missed being up there with us.
He taught us how to fish up there, cooked the best breakfasts over an open fire, made the best campfires where we would sit til late at night laughing, talking and roasting marshmallow with the Stockdales, their family and other campers.
I wish that it hadn’t been developed like I have heard it has, it would have been the perfect place for his ashes.
But before crying and wishing it was so, here is another story about Dad and Charlie Banana — the not so wild Chipmunk.
We were always feeding the squirrels and chipmunks at the campsite or out in the woods. Well, there was this one little Chipmunk that seemed to stay with us for the entire summer. We named him Charlie Banana. He loved his peanuts.
When I was out with Mom this past weekend, she reminded me of a story about him and Dad. It seems that Dad would make him work for his peanuts by hiding them in his pockets. It seems that there was this one time that Dad forgot about the peanut in his shirt pocket and was standing there and Charlie decided he wanted the peanut that was hidden — problem was he ran up Dad’s leg — which at this time, he was wearing shorts!!!! Ouch!!!! As Charlie ran up his leg!!!
And then there was the time that we ran out of peanuts . . . . . .
But this post is getting long and I need to get to work, so that will have to wait for now.
Hopefully, finishing this post, I will be able to get back to things here, that the grief will not last forever but will become happy memories of him instead.