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I'm a children's author. Animals are a constant source of writing material for me. They are also my heart!

I Remember......

>> Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I had pictures of Annabelle to post tonight. I had pictures of the coyote basking in the sun in the field behind my house. I had pictures of three deer grazing in the same field. Had them is the operative word here. I LOST THEM ALL! I don't know if it's me or the camera.

Anyway, after I realized the pictures were gone I decided to visit blogs instead of getting frustrated. I had just gotten started when I landed on DJan's blog. Somehow, the topic of fathers came up and I began to read the comments that were left at her blog. The comments brought back a flood of childhood memories that I had forgotten.

My dad died when I was nine. My mother was very sick too. Because it was such a painful time for me, I have unintentionally blocked out a lot of those memories. Tonight, when thinking about my dad, I suddenly recalled his great love for animals.

Tears came to my eyes and I could almost hear my dad saying, "Show me a man who doesn't like a dog and I'll show you a man who's no good!"

Wow. Thinking about people I have encountered during my life makes me honestly believe that my dad was mostly right. People who love dogs are almost always compassionate caring people.

My dad didn't just like dogs though. As I thought about my father, I remembered more and more. There was the time that we were driving down the road and he spotted a dead raccoon. Nearby was one live baby.

Dad brought our car to an abrupt halt. He was a tall masculine man - 6'4". I remember thinking how gentle he looked as he picked up the baby raccoon and put it in the back of our Ford station wagon. How could I have forgotten about this until now?

My dad didn't stop with just picking up the baby raccoon. He went home and built a cage for it and scheduled an appointment at the vet.

I remember going with my dad and watching as the vet pulled tick after tick out of the poor baby's ears. I remember watching the vet draw blood and give inoculations. It never dawned on me until tonight that most fathers probably wouldn't have gone to all this effort but mine did.

And I remember the November day my dad died. He was 39-years-old. Much too young to die but back then Hodgkin's disease had no cure. As always, we had a dog. She was a wonderful loyal boxer. Tawny never left my dad's bedside. He would reach down and stroke her head as she waited with him. Tawny was there as my dad took his last breath.

Is it any wonder I love animals so much? And isn't it amazing that a blog brought back all these wonderful memories for me? I'm still crying but not because of the loss of my parents at a young age. I'm crying because of the wonderful memories that are coming back to me that I had all but forgotten. They are a part of who and why I am.

I'm so thankful that I lost the pictures on my camera tonight. I found something so much more special....I found a part of me.


SquirrelQueen September 16, 2009 at 1:18 AM  


What a wonderful tribute to your father, he sounds like an extraordinary individual. Your love for him comes through in each word your wrote.

That's the great thing about memories, sometimes a little thing can act as a trigger.

Sorry about your photos. Did you check to see if they are still on the memory card, it could just be a problem with the camera.

Ziggy Stardust September 16, 2009 at 2:07 AM  

Jan, that is a beautiful story and tribute to your Dad. I never had a good relationship with mine, I am glad you have those good memories. My oldest sister who has passed away, was an animal lover as am I.


CATachresis September 16, 2009 at 4:36 AM  

WOW! I have tears in my eyes! So young to lose a dad. You are right though, it's our memories that make us who we are. The gift of memory is very precious.

Maxmom September 16, 2009 at 8:50 AM  

Hi there Jan

Thank you for your precious tribute to your father...and for passing on this compounded effect to us. My dad too had a profound effect on me, particularly with regard to animals.

Your message today is like a 'tumble-weed' in the middle of the Karoo. (The Karoo is an expansive and flat, semi-desert area of South Africa). Tumble weeds are round, ball-like, dried out bushes which travel for miles and miles. They are fuelled by the wind and pass so many souls on their journey, but remain intact.

Like the tumble-weed, your message is clear: We need to cherish the good memories; regard them as our legacy and pass them on to our children. When we too are gone, our children will 'tumble-weed' them forward.

Thank you for an awesome post.
You are loved!

BRUTUS September 16, 2009 at 8:53 AM  

A lovely story, indeed! I lost my mom several years ago, and find that random memories pop into my head at the oddest fimes! It's almost like she is saying hello, feel like she is actually there many times as the memories are so wonderful & strong!


Unknown September 16, 2009 at 9:12 AM  

Ah, what a beautiful story! Treasure those memories always.

Honeygo Beasley September 16, 2009 at 10:25 AM  

What can I say? A beautiful story about loss, love and finding treasures in your heart. Thanks again for sharing this part of you.

The Adventures of the LLB Gang September 16, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

What lovely memories of your Dad. I am so glad you found them!

Lillian Robinson September 16, 2009 at 10:52 AM  

Maybe God had a hand in this...

Yes, losing those pictures paid back enormously! Your dad sounds like a terrific guy. Most people would not have shelled out money at the vet's for a baby raccoon. Lose some more pics tomorrow and remember what happened to it.

I'm glad that you have those memories now.

Tweedles -- that's me September 16, 2009 at 8:53 PM  

That is such a beautiful tribute to your wonderful dad. And yes that is where you got your love for animals.
Loosing your pictures sent you on an incredible journey- one that touched the deep core of you- and you can remember now so clear.
Those memories will remain fresh in your heart forever. It was ment to be- but I still hope you can retrieve your pics. It happened to my mom once too- they were hiding in the camera.

BeadedTail September 16, 2009 at 11:11 PM  

Such a beautiful tribute to your dad. It's no doubt that he gave you the same love of animals that he had. He sounds like he was a wonderful man and your memories are so special. It is certainly bittersweet that you lost your photos. Thanks for sharing your story.

Melinda September 17, 2009 at 3:05 PM  

OMGosh...I am crying like a baby...That is an incredible writing...Your dad was absolutely a wonderful and caring and loving man. He certainly must have been. I am so happy for you that you have that memory and you know what? I am blessed in my heart that you took the time to share it with me.
Thank you Jan


Jan Mader September 17, 2009 at 5:51 PM  

No...thank you Melinda...and everyone. If it weren't for blogs and those of you who write, I would never have remembered. It's pretty amazing.

I can't tell you how many people I've shared this story with today. It was meant to be....

Sandy September 18, 2009 at 12:54 PM  

WOW..I had no idea thats where you got your love of animals from. Is it amazing and pretty special that after all these years, this memory has come to you. How cool is that?

And people scoff about us spending time blogging...poey on them I say.

Hubby lost his father when he was young too, and like Jan's story, sometimes odd memories will come to him.

I am sorry bout the pictures, I just know how frustrating that can be; but...that problem can be, and will be resolved. There will be other times to take photo's.


ocmist September 26, 2009 at 1:45 AM  

This sounds so much like my dad's story. It brought back all kinds of memories for me,too. My father passed away on November 29th at the age of 49. He, too, always brought home orphaned animals, and we've had all kinds: rabbits nursed by our cat, a tiny raven who lived to be 25 years old, racoons, dogs... Along with pictures of his kids and my mom in his wallet, we found a picture of the goat that he'd had when he was young.

His last dog was old Butch and they hardly ever went anywhere other than together. He taught me how to stitch dogs, and doctor animals, birth them when the mother has trouble, etc. He gave me a love for reading and for learning... If you can read, you can learn ANYTHING... Thank you, for the memories, Jan. They truly are precious! Linda

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