Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

For Father's Day

Camping with the family
I am sure I have hinted at times that my relationship with my dad was problematic at times. For the first ten years or so he was my total hero and generally stern but doting. After that it slowly got more dicey as I began to try to establish my own identity as we all do and found other heroes in many places. Looking back, some of them were definitely unsuitable but there was also an issue that dad did not want to share my devotion-- period! Despite the issues, though, he was a huge influence on my life. Not only was he my father but our family was very close-knit and stick-together in almost every way, Dad was also my teacher in five of the first eight grades of grammar school and what is now middle school. Thus, for a substantial part of my young life, he was with me almost 24/7.

No doubt both genetics and environment are major components in how a person turns out. I got a lot from Dad on both counts. I am sure I owe the fact that I am a writer, even that I am a published writer, to him in a variety of ways. First even when I was very small, he was writing and I formed the image or idea that writing was a completely normal activity, even a meritorious one that sometimes earned money! Until I left home, dad's writing was a constant of sorts and a regular part of life. When I began to make up verses and soon stories at a fairly young age, he encouraged me. Oh, he was not content unless he could slant or steer my efforts in directions he felt were either the best, the most potentially rewarding or just what he wanted to see me doing but that is moot, I wrote, mom and dad read it and commented, mostly encouraged, and so I wrote more!

Me and Dad, resting after a ride and
looking at my .22 revolver
I also developed a love for the outdoors and camping, hiking, hunting and hunting with a camera instead of a firearm from very early experiences. We were cooking over a campfire and sleeping in a tent by the time I can barely remember shortly after my parents moved to Arizona. Even if one might get cold or hot or wet it was mostly fun, not onerous and always an adventure. I never stopped enjoying that. Then, the intensive years when we had horses and mules impacted me in a wide range of ways. I learned about hard work and responsibility, about the ethic and honor of having other living creatures depend on you to the point where you could do no less than give them every care and see to their needs before you ever thought of your own. I learned the amazing bond of sharing closely with living entities of other kinds when you worked and met challenges together. I learned the loyalty and basically boundless love that these creatures can give. Many of them would work their hearts out, literally, for you. It is humbling yet empowering when a 1,000 pound horse or mule is willing to do that for you!

So I owe my father many debts that I can never repay. He caused me some grief and left internal scars which I bear to this day but I am sure never out of malice or evil intent. In turn I know I gave him some additional gray hairs and creases in his face, maybe some ulcers and high blood pressure at various times. For awhile we were very estranged and he never could be friends with my husband--it was two very strong, alpha type men with me as the bone between the dogs!

Thankfully, we had 'made up' enough to be beyond civil before his final decline in health and the accident that took his life so I was not left with deep regrets. Still, we never quite became friends after I reached adulthood. I am sorry for that but it was not to be. I am sure there are many aspects in my life that he would not approve of; he had some very strict and also very odd standards in many areas and eccentricities that are hard to understand,  But in other ways I believe he is also proud of me and perhaps happy for things I have accomplished. I hope so. At any rate, I honor him today along with my grandfathers, one of whom I never really knew but heard a great deal about and the other who was a low key but important presence to me until his death in 1997 at the age of 100 years and 10 months! The respect and regard with which both men were accorded in their communities and the industry both were in--the railroads--speaks for itself. In addition I had two very different uncles, one brother of each parent who influenced me and some 'father figures' outside the family circle who also left impressions on my young mind and heart, God bless all the dads and quasi-dads for all you do!

I find it very tragic how many kids today grow up without a father in their life and often with no one to really fill those big, important shoes. We've tended to make masculinity somehow less virtuous and less important and in doing this have done a disservice to all. We need two kinds of people to make a family, a male and a female. I won't say that a same-sex couple cannot provide this in some ways because they each will probably assume a more male or female role just by their inherent nature, but a child who grows up in a totally feminine or totally  masculine environment is going to be deprived in so many subtle ways. We see how this happens in so many sad cases now and reap the results.  I have to vote for two parent families and wish that we could get past the notion of discarding partners like we change our socks so kids do not get to grow up in a stable permanent family circle. I am thankful that I did not suffer in that regard.

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