Gary Kent, Dad, and I

For the Upper Snake River Valley of Southeastern Idaho, the weather was wonderful for this time of year.  It was shirtsleeve weather. Back when I lived here, I would have called this an Indian summer.  The clear blue sky and warm sun offered the finishing touches to the picturesque scenery of the Rocky Mountains displaying the Teton Peaks.  The beauty of it was just one more indication that God was watching over us as we gathered at the Cemetery.  No one from our family had ever been buried here, even though our family had called Rexburg home for almost 49 years. 

            As family began to arrive, most were happily visiting and greeting one another, because some of us had come in from out of town.  Many of my nephews and nieces were setting up their musical instruments.  Two flutes, two violas, a violin.  An electronic Keyboard would serve as the piano.  Two of my sisters were standing toward the back, visiting with my mother.  I moved about the group and handed out programs.

My dad sat alone in the middle of the front row of chairs which were set up close to the tiny casket.  The effects of his cancer had him seeking a place to sit down and rest. 

Time seemed to warp for me.  At first everything was in slow motion.  I stood as if in a trance.  The image of my dad facing that tiny white vault which held the original casket burned into my memory.  Though his eyes glistened, I wasn’t sure they were tears of sadness.  My dad displayed this same face anytime someone in his family really pleased him.  It was his proud look.  I wanted to know his thoughts.  I imagined that his memory had taken him back over fifty years. 

His third son (and the older brother I never knew) was spirited and aggressive.  He could keep his two older brothers on guard.  If the three started fighting for a toy, the brotherly tussle likely ended with the toy in Gary Kent’s hand, and the two older brothers crying.

I studied the pictures on the program once again.  Yes, Gary Kent was a happy baby who loved life… until he was 18 months old.  Very early in the morning, before doing chores, my dad went into check on him.  Gary Kent’s eyes were open; as if he were staring up at the ceiling… his little body was cold… they called it crib death.

My thoughts were now back at the cemetery as my dad stood up and stepped forward.  He placed his hand on the casket and held it there.  This was another good-bye, fifty years after the first one.  Not long after Gary Kent died, my parents had moved.  They wanted him close again.  That’s why we were here today.

One of my older brothers conducted the short service.  Another brother, and myself offered prayers.  The sweet music added to the peaceful feeling.  I was thankful to be there for the Re-internment.  But what I will cherish most from that short visit back home, was what I observed in my dad.

Like everyone who has ever lived, my dad has had his share of trouble and turmoil.  He’s made his mistakes and suffered disappointment.  But in the face of the storms of life which are billowing on his horizon, my dad is at peace with himself.  Since returning back to my own home, and returning to my challenges and turmoil, the image of my father’s serenity shines in my mind.  He is like those Teton Mountains which grace his landscape.  They stand firm, majestically, as inspiration to anyone who will take the time to look at them.  They are the same even if storms are brewing.  Even if they are so covered in clouds that no one can see them.  My dad is that way.  I want to be like that too.  More than anytime in my life, I want to be like my Dad.    

21 thoughts on “Serenity”

  1. Dad,
           I love your writing. It makes me feel like I am right with you. Like I can see things through your eyes. Your story about your visit to Idaho was beautiful and it made me cry. I feel like I had been there to and that was a nice thought. Thank you for writing about the experiance.

  2. I’ve enjoyed reading some of your memories.  I got her via "Best of."  Congrats on the nom…looks like you deserve it.

  3. Be Like your dad…seems like you are more so than you can even imagine…I wonder who is watching you saying exactly the same things you so beautifully expressed…I think I count nine of them…

  4. Hi Ron,
    Don’t you find that most people do become more like their parents as they age whether they want to or not?? We must just try to emulate the good characteristics.
    I’m not really accident prone but it sounds like I’m a terrible klutz when I describe my injury and how I got it, doesn’t it?? I’m not covered by workers comp so can’t put in a claim,haha. Actually, the worst thing I’ve ever done was break my arm – dancing – at a Christmas party…long story,lol. Believe me, that gets mentioned fairly regularly!

    Hello Ron,
    Thanks for stopping by. I had conratulated you before but I couldn’t get feed back, so I didn’t visit your space I think a few days. Congratulations again.
    Well, Thanks if you liked my last post. It is "mad mad mad mad mad" world’s story!
    About forgiveness: Yes I know that opinion. They say "If you can’t forgive yourself, you can’t forgive the others…" But I mean just MONKEYS… You forgive or not yourself, it is not necessary about forgive the monkeys. Why have to forgive all people who damaged you?..
    I think our pen styles are different. You are traditional, I am innovative. But it is not problem for me. I can understand you. Will you understand me without so many reading my writings too?.. Yes maybe I have some English mistakes but I am working on it.
    Good day Ron,

  6. I could read your written thougts all day, thats a gift to beable to express your thoughts and events in the manner that you do. Sounds like your trip was wonderful and fullfilling.
    I have never been to Idaho but i bet its a beautiful place.
    Have a great rest of the week.

  7. You have an awesome blog.  I love the pictures of your family, both new and old.  Tell your wife for me that after 9 kiddies she looks TOTALLY FABULOUS!

  8. I don’t know you very well but what I know of you tells me you are a lot like your discription of your father. Does he read your blogs, he should have the chance to read this one. His eyes would glisten….Pam:)


  10. I’m not sure how I stumbled on your site, but I’m glad I did.  My incredible husband and I are expecting our ninth baby next month.  That will make two girls and seven boys for us.  Everywhere we go, it seems that we are complete freaks.  In our home we are excited and happy.  As the mother, I could not be prouder or more fulfilled than to be able to associate with each child.  They each have their own place in our family and we wouldn’t do without any one of them.  I thought the dinner-time picture of your family was great because it looked just like our table (Dad at the head and both sides lined with the most amazing people you ever met!)  I appreciated seeing a BIG, happy family.  It made me realize that we aren’t that weird after-all.

  11. Ron, I enjoyed your writing about your family and your Dad.  As an only child I lost my Mom in 1998 and Dad passed away in 2004.  I am so glad that I had them as long as I did.  I think as we mature we notice so many things about them that we did’nt see at a younger age.  We see that they are not perfect but we can appreciate them in an imperfect world.  I got to tell my Mom and Dad how much I loved them and appreciated the life they gave me before they died.  I was Dad’s primary caregiver for the last few years of his life.  Some times it was tough but looking back, it really was a gift from God to be able to show him how much I loved him.  Thanks and good luck, God bless you!  Tom T

  12. you know….its crazy the ways people these days handle deaths like these….my mom was the oldest child…my grandmother lost three babies in two years, one to pneumonia, one to heart disease and one in a house fire started by a lighter another child was playin with. mom and my uncle were the only ones to live. these situations were hard and rough but my mother and grandmother were and still are the strongest people i know. if only people today could grow from situations instead of turnin to drugs as an easy way out, i believe we could all be as strong as the generation before us has proved to be. thanks for sharin your have a beautiful way of writing things

  13. You have a wonderful way with words.  It makes me remember my own childhood.  Your wife is one of my regular blogging buddies, and you indeed have a beautiful family.  I have found reading your blogs to be very rewarding, I had to go back a bit further.  Your space deserves to be featured.  I know you are well fed, I love the recipes Val posts. 🙂 I have copied every one.  Congratulations!

    What monkey?!!!… Of course, not. Are you kidding with me?.. Don’t break my heart my friend. Maybe we have to drink some coffee or cognac and smoke a cigarette, lol. GAG. Really didn’t you taste them?.. What shame, ha ha. I just looking around. See you later, have a nice weekend, Zeynep.

  15. It has got nothing to do with sunshine or storm. It is your elequence that keeps these wonderful folk alive. Without your stories they would be lost in an eternal void. Perhaps as your festival of thanksgiving approaches some of your correspondants could tell us of one of their ancestors? Perhaps instead of Mother’s,Father’s days we should have an ANCESTORS DAY?

  16. Your article makes me think of old men or women.In fact,they are all quiet.They have experienced a lot,knowing a lot about life.Now they need rest,need quietness.Life is so.

  17. Hello Ron.
    What a beautiful and touching story.. although its very sad  as well..
    Your father sounds like a wonderful and stong soul.. much like your self..
    I Love reading your stories.. they give me balance..
    soft hugs ~Hope

  18. What a wonderful tribute to your Dad!  That all children would have that mind of example and memory..  lottiemae

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