Thursday, October 8, 2009

Remembering My Dad

My father would have been 95 this coming Tuesday but sadly I lost him more than 12 years ago. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of him and how I came to this life and this place because of him.

His Morse family ancestors arrived in America from England in 1635. They settled in the New England area and many remain there to this day. My grandfather loved rural settings and moved his family to a farm where his children were involved in the everyday chores of the place. I’m not sure my father was all that fond of farm life in general but there is no question that he loved the outdoors and spent much of his time hunting, fishing and exploring. Of the five sons, he was probably the one most connected to the natural world.

I am always amazed at the accomplishments of my father and his four brothers considering their rather simple upbringing. Though suffering through a case of tuberculosis while he was in high school, he went on to earn is PhD in microbiology and spent his professional career studying the disease that plagued him as a child. His older brother became a chemical engineer and worked on the Manhattan Project; another brother became a bio-geneticist and part of a Nobel prize winning team; another brother became a pharmacist; and the youngest brother became a science teacher.

My father entered the military and fought in World War II. Because of his medical specialty, in 1953 he was assigned to the Army medical research center in Denver. He couldn’t have been more pleased knowing that the wonders of Colorado were awaiting him. After many years away from the woods and the streams he began to hunt and fish again and when I was old enough, he included me in his outdoor trips.

In the mid-60s my family bought a little piece of land on the Blue River in Summit County and built a small cabin. It became our vacation retreat and hunting camp long before Colorado became the vacation spot and retirement location for millions.

I could tell that my dad was happy when we purchased our first rural property in 1978. I think his favorite part of the place was the chicken coop – he remembered the turkeys that his family had raised so long ago. At our second place he helped us build the livestock sheds. His health was failing when we arrived at our third place (and our first in the Valley). He was only able to visit a couple of times but I could sense that he felt we had achieved something he had always wanted – a permanent home in the high country.

He passed away in 1997 while living in Colorado Springs. We spread his ashes on Pikes Peak where my mom could view the Peak through her living room window. Today, I see Pikes Peak from our meadow and I can often feel his presence looking down on our home – our fourth rural home. He never saw this place in person, or at least I don’t think he did.

Our little place on South Brush Creek was homesteaded in 1880 by Jacob Miller. In researching our property’s past I learned that Jacob died on the exact day my father was born. Maybe my father had been here before.

From Fleur Creek Farm

No comments:

Post a Comment