Friday, January 23, 2009

Dad's final farewell

We laid my Dad to rest today. Fortunately he'd had a chance to discuss his wishes with my Mum so we were able to give him exactly the send off he wanted.

Even though it was incredibly hard to keep myself together I felt it necessary to deliver a eulogy to my Dad; there were things I needed to tell the world about the most influential man in my life. Here's what I said:

How do I sum up my Dad’s life? I can’t really stand here and tell you the story of his sixty-nine years because he lived far too full a life for me to do that in just a few minutes. And whilst Dad had strong opinions on many things, and was more than willing to share them (‘like father like son’ I can hear a few people saying), I don’t really have any pearls of wisdom he shared with me.

But I can tell you how he lived his life and that’s what matters, because ultimately the measure of man is not his words but his actions.

If you’d known Dad in his youth he would have seemed a pretty typical working class lad from the inner west of Sydney; he left school at 15, completed an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner, meet my Mum and married and started a family in his early twenties.

True to his roots Dad enjoyed life’s simple pleasures; a beer or two, or more; throwing a line into the water and pulling out a fish, even when all anyone else was catching was a cold; eating too much of one of Mum’s roast dinners; growing a ‘few’ veggies in the back yard; and most of all just spending time with his family.

Yet in a sense Dad was also ambitious; not for fortune or fame, but simply to make the best life for himself and his family that he possibly could. He never complained that he didn’t have an ideal start in life. He simply made the most of what he had and got stuck in to making it better.

One of the most enduring lessons I learned from watching my Dad is that there is always something you could be doing to improve your circumstances. All you needed to do was gather a few bricks and bits of tin and wood and whatever else you could pick up for a bargain, and there wasn’t any reason you couldn’t turn a two room shack in Dunalley into a palace. In fact I can’t ever remember a time when Dad wasn’t building or fixing or improving something.

He had an amazing range of practical skills that he’d picked up over the years and he was always acquiring more. I don’t recall ever seeing my Dad reading a novel, he didn’t watch much telly and wasn’t a big sports fan, but if he needed a new skill or to fix an unfamiliar piece of equipment he’d bury his head in technical books until he found the answers, and before you knew it he was an expert on some new subject.

Dad was a bit too rough around the edges to ever be called a “sensitive new age guy”, but the other thing I learned from my Dad’s example was how to treat other people.

In my forty-five years I never once saw him say or do anything that indicated that he thought for a moment that someone’s nationality, or race, or gender or anything else like that was important.

Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of people he didn’t particularly get along with, but he always judged individuals as he found them.

He never resorted to or advocated violence as a solution to problems. I never saw him take advantage of another person or abuse his authority or power over those weaker than him.

And he was a great role model as a husband, creating a true partnership with my Mum and always treating her as an equal in whatever plan or project or journey they were embarking upon.

By the way he lived his life Dad was a man worthy of respect and admiration. But most of all he was a man worthy of our fondest remembrance.

Good bye Dad. We love you, we’ll miss you terribly and we promise we won’t ever forget you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Goodbye Dad

My Dad passed away early this morning.

My Mum, my brother, my sister and my wife and I were all with him at the end.

It was way too soon for him to go, but in the end he was suffering and now he's at peace.

I already miss him more than I could have imagined.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Just a photo

I took this on a walk near my parents house (with my phone - apologies for the quality). The way the sun was shining on the grass caught me eye.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Good things come in threes... three powder days this week. Today saw another six inches at 5 am with a consistency somewhere between the Champagne Powder we had on Tuesday and the heavier stuff we had on Thursday.

I've got some things to do today so I could only stay out an hour and a half. Whilst I only skied 8,716 vertical ft it included three great powder/tree runs - Triangle 3/BarUE Liftline, Kuus' Cruise and 2:45 trees (that's the trees between 2 O'clock and 3 O'clock to skier's right of Twilight).

The run home on Valley View and Lower Valley View was also nice.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Thigh burn

It was another big powder day in Steamboat - 25 inches in the past 48 hours - so it was even deeper today than yesterday.

It was also heavier snow since it was just a little too warm overnight to produce the Champagne Powder. That means a lot more thigh burn. A lot more. So I only managed 11,247 vertical ft compared to 18,000 plus yesterday.

I was a little late getting to the gondola so I skipped that and headed for the Christie Express / Thunderhead Express combo and began with a deep, deep powder run down Concentration by which time I was in need of a new pair of legs. After a quick run over to the Pony Express I decided it was time to revisit my favourite tree runs - Shadows and Closet - by which time I only had enough left in my legs to get home via Oops and Vertigo.

Update: here's the map which a technical error on Blogger was preventing me from uploading earlier.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Powder Tuesday

Today was one of those days you live for in Steamboat; deep light powder and it's still snowing. The 5 am report said nine inches but it seemed like a lot more than that.

It was great everywhere, but especially on Pony Express where I was on the fourth or fifth chair for the day and got plenty of freshies, to skier's right of the Sundown Liftline, to skier's left of Sunnyside and to skier's left of Westside where there was still thigh deep untracked powder after midday when I was heading home.

I could have stayed out longer, although 18,279 vertical ft is not a bad total, but I wanted to keep some fuel in the tank for tomorrow!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Deep Freeze

Today was one of the colder days I've skied - it was a chilly -13F or -25C when I awoke and it didn't get a whole lot warmer even when the sun came out mid-morning. So I only managed 8,519 vertical ft before I decided I'd rather be at home sitting in front of the fireplace!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Day 13

The weather today wasn't nearly as nice as yesterday, but Michael and I still had a great time on the mountain skiing a mix of bumps, trees and groomers for a total of 11,469 vertical ft.

Now we're just waiting for more snow. Bring on the powder days!