Today’s story comes together in the final paragraph.
That’s true for most stories, and perhaps I don’t need to tell you this. Great writers, of course, would never make such a plea; they simply captivate with their first lines. Such captivation happened when I recently reread Jason Wright’s Recovering Charles:
“I can’t look up without seeing it.”
I knew I was in for a wonderful journey with the very first line.
I indulged myself Friday afternoon and reread Recovering Charles sitting under a canopy of trees up Logan Canyon. As a symphony of rustling water and quasi-music bird song soothed my soul, Jason Wright’s touching story of man’s journey to recover his estranged father reminded me such journeys are rarely ever made alone.
As I pondered my own lifetime journey with my Father I remembered the father figures who helped me along the path. While I’ve shared some of this before, it’s entirely fitting to share again. I hope it will help you feel the same hope I’ve discovered that every life has the chance for a “second verse.”
Dwayne Paskett gave me my first loan when I was 14 years old. He set me up through the USDA for a thousand dollars to buy a nurse cow and four calves for my FFA project. Two years later he spent a solid summer teaching me horsemanship, which I learned was much more than just knowing how to ride a horse. The following year he took over the café I was working at and he became my boss. Through it all he became a trusted friend, a father figure.
Johnny Evans was a local cop of my youth who mostly escaped the typical teenage stigma associated with local cops – Johnny was cool. He seemed to understand we weren’t out to destroy the world, we were just trying to understand it and figure out where we fit in it. This attracted many to him. He was trusted, respected and like – and like I said, he was cool. So cool, in fact, that when my Dad and I were going through a pretty tough time and Dad wasn’t around much, Johnny would come and pick me up and take me for a ride in his patrol car. We’d go get a drink and talk about stuff, but mostly he’d just listened. He helped me better understand a lot of things, but mostly he helped me understand how much my Dad really cared. Through it all he became a trusted friend, a father figure.
Darryl Alder was one of my first Scoutmasters. He had this unique and incredible outlook on boys in that he believed we were meant to have fun – a lot of fun! He took us hiking, exploring, rappelling and climbing mountains; he taught us campfire cooking, wilderness survival, and how to build just about anything out of Lodge Pole Pines and rope. Most of all, he taught me about honor, duty and striving to do my best for myself, my country, and my God. Darryl moved away after a couple years but he didn’t forget about me. One early spring evening, during a rocky time at home, Darryl called inviting me to spend the weekend helping him get a high adventure Boy Scout camp ready. We got there only to discover we risked being snowed in if we stayed. So instead of just taking me back home, he took me to his new home in Provo where he and his wife Sue spent the weekend listening to a teenage boy trying to figure out life. Through it all he became a trusted friend, a father figure.
Buddy Peterson was another Scoutmaster who taught me, among many things, that an old beat-up Chevy van chock-full of boys could go anywhere. We went places in that old van just to see if we could do it, climbing mountains we had no right climbing, much of the time singing crazy scout songs at full volume. He helped me live the adventure and enjoy the journey. More so, he helped me become an Eagle Scout. When my best friend and I all but given up on reaching this lofty goal, a goal he helped instill in us, he came back into our lives to help us finish. I became his first Scout to become an Eagle Scout. Years later I had a chance to thank him over a campfire at Fish Lake when I asked for permission to marry his daughter. Through it all he became a trusted friend, a father figure.
Lionel Kendrick was my shepherd for two years. He molded and guided me in those transitional teenage to adulthood years. His mantra to be “Better than the Best,” and his belief that I could be, has helped me through times of discouragement and challenge. Perhaps no man besides my own father has believed in me more. Through it all he became a trusted friend, a father figure.
Marty Salisbury came into my life when our family moved to Hyde Park in May 2000. At one point he was my church bishop, a trusted leader I turned to for counsel and encouragement. He’s a runner and man shorter than all of my kids. Sometimes when he speaks at church he stands on the kiddie stool just so we can see him over the pulpit. Though short in stature, he’s tall in strength, faith, and love. Through it all he became a trusted friend, a father figure.
Ed Patterson is my father. When I wanted to ride horses, he found a guy to teach me horsemanship. When I had a hard time letting Dad into my life, he found a local cop who I would let in. When I reached a breaking point, he got an old Scoutmaster to take me on a weekend trip. When I had given up on reaching a major goal, Dad encouraged another old Scoutmaster to help me finish. When I didn’t feel I was doing any good while sharing the word, he encouraged me to listen to the counsel to be “Better than the Best.” When time and distance didn’t allow Dad to be in my daily life, he made sure I remembered another who was tall in strength and love. Through it all he has been my trusted friend, my father.
Have a great Monday. Thanks for letting me share!
p.s. Take 15 minutes today to enjoy a 1) a sneak peek at Recovering Charles, 2) Cherie Call’s moving melody “Love Me If You Can” written especially for the novel, and 3) Daryl Alder’s Father’s Day tribute to his Scouting father.