We sit on the phone and talk football and Halloween. Did you see that play? Did you hear about the Rutgers player? When are you coming home? These are the conversations between me and my dad. He talks about pick up trucks and mills closing and my aunt’s oatmeal pie.
And… he talks about logging.
The mighty axe men of West Virginia. He tells me three more loggers have been killed in Nicholas County alone, and I hold my breath on the other end of the line. He knows what’s coming next, so he cuts me off before I can say a word. “Well listen, if that ever happens to me I just want you to tell them that he was out there because he wanted to be. And he died doin’ what he loved.”
I roll my eyes on the other end of the line and sigh deeply into the receiver. I feel my checks flush red hot and in that instant I am furious with him. I could fight. I could argue. I could tell him that he’s wrong. I could intellectualize every other possible thing he could be doing. I know, because I’ve done it all before.
But instead I just change the subject. We talk more about football. And then we hang up the phone.
And I go around the rest of the night shaking my head at how wrong one person can possibly be.
But come the morning I sit straight up and bask in the light of possibility. Oh God. What… if… he’s… right.
What if you haven’t really lived until you’re willing to put it all out on the line, doing what you love? A safe life is longer perhaps, but is it a life worth living? And if today were my very last day on this earth, could I really look at the people I love most in this world and say “don’t worry….I put myself out there because I wanted to be.” And I always believed that was a risk worth taking.
What I know is this…I want to live like that. I want to love like that. I want to build a life like that.
And deep down I believe that I can. Because of my dad…
And what he loved.