Heroes and stars
Just after 11 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2013, my father, Steve Prout, passed away. His long, hard battle with congestive heart failure peacefully ended with him going to sleep. Over was the being tired. Ended were the days of no energy. Free to peacefully live in eternity.
Losing my father jogged so many memories, like me as a kid sitting on the old, beat-up black leather sofa in our living room watching cartoons. A camping trip during which we got caught in a canoe, in a rainstorm, at which time I dropped my paddle, and dad had to row the entire way back to shore by himself (not that I was much help anyway). With my father, a normal day’s activities could always take a turn and become an event that could, and would, be described in story for years.
On one such normal day we went fishing. During this trip we had to forge a river. Well, to clarify, it was probably more of a large stream, and we had to cross this stream due to the fact that we had gotten lost. As my father came to a spot in the crossing at which the water funneled and became quite brisk, he lost his footing and was swept 20 feet or so downstream.
During his uncontrolled travel he never let go of the tackle box, fishing rods, lunch leftovers, or a trusty cooler (because we all know kids will watch you carry the universe and not help a bit). As he came up out of the water, soaking wet, he looked upstream at me and said, “Come on. Just fall in, and as you come downriver put your hand out. I will not let you go by, I promise.”
Maybe out of being naïve I just stuck my foot in the rough current.
Immediately my feet were gone and I was whisked down the rapids completely out of control, and in my mind — drowning.
Remembering what my father promised I stuck out my hand. And then, like a vise of lifesaving force, my arm was grabbed, and in what felt like being plucked from a tornado, I was pulled from the river.
My father hugged me and asked, “You okay?” I simply responded, “Yes.”
That day my father was my hero. He had fought nature and prevailed to save me.
Looking back helped me realize this. Let your parents be heroes, let you children be stars, and never get tired of hearing those same stories over and over.
One day that will be all you have to remember the ones you love most.
I love you and miss you, Dad.