October 25, 2010

What He Loved

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.

  1. dawn beirnes

    your dad is just plain awesome!

  2. Jodie

    You forgot to add that you are the one thing that J.R. Bess loves the most!! I’m sitting here in my office with tears rolling down my cheeks.

  3. Jasmine*

    Love this post more than I can say. …and I really mean it! ;)

  4. MM

    LOL….you are amazing! :)

  5. Betsy Jo

    Because of what we experienced with you yesterday, I believe you not only can live that life, but that you are, Ms. Mary. And I am so happy to be a little blog reader who gets to enjoy your journey from the sidelines.

  6. Justin

    A safe life or a life on the line, neither would be worth living without you! Let’s put ourselves where we want to be and live on the edge together!

  7. Marissa Rodriguez

    This is so beautiful! Really, really makes me think. Thank you for posting!

  8. joan solitario

    that was so heartfelt… thanks for sharing :D

  9. Jacquelynn Buck

    seriously. this is why I read your blog again and again! I want to live like that. because, otherwise, what’s the point? Really, Mary, you speak a language I understand – only more fluently than me.

  10. Katie Jane

    LOVE this. Life is too short as it is to play it safe all the time.

  11. Monty Jessop

    As usual Mary you’ve brought me to a place of reflection and recognition. Thank you!

  12. Karen Stott

    So true. If we could all have the strength to dive in so fully. Thanks!

  13. maggieb

    Exactly. "Life is a sacred trust" – we should all live and pursue as to not break that trust… And Mary – your Dad must be so proud of you. The apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  14. Julia

    Tears on the keyboard again! Thank you guys, because without you two, my life would be a little more "safe" and a whole lot more boring :) XOXO

  15. GrandmaIna

    I really admire your Dad. His remarks really hit the mark. He must be wonderful to have inspired you so beautifully.

  16. linda kuo


    What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing such a personal story with us and I couldn’t agree with you more. I feel there is so much life to live. Carpe Diem!! I don’t want to go through life thinking "What if" I’d rather fail 1000 times but know that my effort was 100% rather than die having mediocre effort. Your dad is an inspiration and so are you!

  17. Abbey

    Aw Mary! Awesome post! We get soo scared about the unknown that we’re afraid to take that leap of faith. Thanks for helping all of us to take that leap!

  18. Jackie lamas

    my dad is kinda the same. he says that he loves working for himself, even though it can be 18 hour days and working construction isn’t as cushy as the city job he once had. but he loves it. and the flexibility to travel and see the world. and we should all live like that- love life and live it that way…loved this post :)

  19. Laura Cee

    Dads are awesome and every girl should have an awesome one; the right dad can inspire beyond words. Living life to the fullest inspired by a father can give a girl so much; thank you for making me stop and remember and reflect. Awesome post.

  20. Holli True

    This post is simply amazing. For many years my dad was also a logger. Like your dad, he loved it, still talks about, and at times, I believe he still craves it.
    I have to agree with Betsy, I believe you are living, loving and building a life just like that. :) You are so amazing!!

  21. Alison

    I only hope to inspire the same in my children see the same as they grow… Your way with words is amazing and your timing perfection. Thank you!

  22. Christa

    I want to comment because this post is so great but I don’t know how to express properly what I want to say….so this is my comment :)

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