(Originally published in the Merritt News)
© By Othmar Vohringer
It has been 30 years now since the passing of my father but there has not been a single day in my life that I did not think about him in some form or other. Sometimes it’s just a fleeting memory or a comment he would have made. My father, and my mother as well, have been guiding beacons throughout my entire life.
My father was in many ways an exceptional man, his commitment to family was all consuming. He never talked much about his own early life before marrying my mother. All I knew as a boy, and even today as an adult, was that he did not have it easy by any stretch of imagination. The only reference he made to his childhood was: “World War I stole my youth and World War II tore my family apart.” I can remember him and his mother occasionally speaking of his father, sisters and a brother but they had no idea where they were or what had happened to them. The wars took a great toll on his family and on life in general. With such experiences it was no surprise that for him family became the nucleus of his very being and purpose in life.
To us he was the father he himself never had but he also relived his childhood through us. No matter how tired he was after a long day of hard work he always had time for us. Not once did I hear him say, “Leave me alone, I am tired” or “I’ve no time.” We were always at the top of his priority list and he spent every minute he could spare with us playing soccer, teaching us to climb trees and riding bicycles. In his vegetable garden each of us children had our own little patch where we could plant our own favourite vegetables. My father loved to be out in nature and had great knowledge about wild animals and he enjoyed fishing. Spending time with him out in the fields and woods, listening to him when he talked about the natural world were the things I most enjoyed.
I am grateful for the father I had and how he inspired me and have no doubt he planted the seed in me that let me to choose a profession where I could work with wild animals; and from them learn about their- and our- place in nature. He was also influential in my becoming a hunter and steward of nature and all the wild things that live within it. Thank you father, I could not have asked for a better man to call “Papa.”
On June 17 the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club will hold a Father’s Day Fishing Derby at the Children’s Pond between Kentucky and Alleyne Lake. My father would have liked that…going fishing with us was his favourite pastime. For more information call Cyril George (250) 315-0280.