By Bill Miller
Sunday is Father’s Day. For the Miller family, this will be the 17th since Dad left us to join his old dogs and under the big pine deer camp buddies in happier hunting grounds. Yet, I still think about Dad and miss him every day. Once again, the family will be together on Sunday enjoying the great outdoors, and nothing would have made Dad happier.
Back in my magazine editor days, a few years before the ravages of a debilitating stroke finally took my dad away, I wrote and published a Father’s Day card of thanks to my dad and to every dad and mentor out there who has introduced a youngster or two to hunting. I’ve got that magazine spread saved out special at home, and I dig it out each year to reread and to silently nod reaffirmation of the life-changing impact my introduction to hunting has had.
Now, I’ll share it again under the big pine in hopes that you’ll use it as your card to your dad or the mentor who started you hunting:
Thanks Dad …
Thanks Dad. If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be here to see this right now. Certainly that’s true in the sense of your giving me life, but equally so in the sense of passing on the hunting tradition. Though it’s now such a part of me I find it hard to imagine, without your guidance and patience I might never have become what I am—a hunter.
Every moment of our lives together directed me to this place at this moment. Though you may not have known it, you kindled and fanned my unquenchable longing for the outdoors. Even those tear-filled eves of your departure for deer camp when I was deemed “still too young” served to fuel the passion.
Those days—a lifetime ago—you carried me on your shoulders when I got too tired hunting pheasants sealed my fate.
It could be that you and I will never be granted the chance to hunt together again. If that’s so, there will be more tears. But we can both go on to whatever waits ahead knowing that what you’ve given to me can not be taken from me.
Because of you, Dad, I am a hunter.
Here’s wishing the happiest of Father’s Days to every guy who introduced his kids to hunting. You’ve left a legacy and an inheritance bigger than you can possibly imagine.