It’s been a while since Moab has had the benefit of Sam’s perspective in his weekly column. Columnists like Dad don’t grow on trees. No doubt the admonishments and sometimes kicks in the pants that were printed in The Times-Independent under the title “Community Comments” have had an impact on our community. We all can use another good perspective from time to time.
Dad didn’t hesitate to take a stand on issues which are seldom simple. In all likelihood his expressed views on matters of ethics and politics had an effect on advertising revenue at some point or another. In a small weekly newspaper, as in any small business, that willingness to take a stand takes real courage. He had the wisdom and experience to have credibility, and for those with a differing view, that can sting. What I have heard and read expressed about Dad lately is that he was not hesitant to state his opinion, but he didn’t make it personal. He retained his respect for those with a differing point of view. That’s important. We need to have more dialogue without the rancor.
What I really want to express is what I have learned from Dad. He showed me how to shoot page paste-ups in the vertical camera and develop sheets of film by hand in a darkroom tray. He showed me how to operate the presses, and make plates from exposures in a vacuum frame. He could tell if there wasn’t enough water form roller on the plate, just by looking at the printed sheet. By the time he needed to give instructions on the old letterpresses, I was low on patience. Funny, as much as I like mechanical items, I never really took to those things. I’m amazed at the amount of patience he had.
I remember cold mornings this time of year heading up to the mountain before dark for the deer hunt, and later, sunny warm afternoons with sore feet. It doesn’t seem like we were ever great deer hunters. He just loved it so much.
Dad gave me the opportunity to be me. He left the boundaries pretty far out. I remember one night, or morning more like, when I found him waiting up for me in the kitchen. He made it clear that it was my life I was on track toward ruining, and it was my decision. It was clear how disappointed he would be if I didn’t turn things around.
There can be no end to these reflections. It’s impossible to recount the number of important things I learned from Dad.
For all those who have expressed your sympathies and your admiration for Dad, please know how much it is appreciated.
Dad had his demons. He drank too much. He smoked too much. He didn’t get enough exercise on a regular basis, and he led a stressful life. As a good friend said, he had his foot on the throttle for a lot of years. But he sure got a lot done. And he left this place a better one through his diligent contribution.
Goodbye Dad. I love you.