John "Jack" Patrick McFadden:
Nov. 15, 1943-Aug. 13, 2005
Today is the five-year anniversary of my Dad's passing, and I wanted to honor him with this post. In lieu of the regular format, I'll share five favorite memories, things, times, etc. involving my Dad.
1. Dad's Weekend 2003
My Dad and cousin made the five-hour trek to Pullman for the annual weekend for fathers. It was even more special because my Dad's favorite comedian, Jay Leno, was the headlining performer for the weekend. After witnessing WSU's narrow victory over Oregon State, we headed to Beasley Coliseum.
I had never seen Dad so excited. The night was filled with laughter as he was able to see someone he watched every night on TV in person. I, because of too many adult beverages consumed during the game, fell asleep on my Dad's shoulder. I woke up a little later and finished watching the rest of the show. Jay was making his exit, which just so happened to be by our seats. Dad was yelling out to Jay, who looked up and waved. Dad swore he was waving at us. A perfect end to a most amazing weekend.
2. All in a ... nickname
You could meet my Dad once and leave with a nickname. It was something he was known for. My Brother's nickname is "Mole." Dad dubbed him as such because of his big hands, which were just like our Dad's. My nickname is "Nanny Girl." Apparently, it stems from me sounding like a nanny goat when I was little. Only something my Dad could come up with.
3. The great outdoors
The woods were Dad's second home. He logged all of his life. One summer while I was home from college, I went with him to clear out trees from my cousin's new property. It was hard work. He would cut the trees into pieces of wood and I threw the pieces into the back of the trailer.
At the time, I kind of wanted the day to go quickly because the work was extremely tiring. But looking back now, it is one of my most cherished times with him. He was sharing one of the things he loved most with me.
4. Blasting from the speakers
Dad's favorite song was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Fishin' In The Dark." He would always have the tape with him and you could expect it to be playing in one of his Ford trucks. One night in particular, my cousin from California was visiting and my Dad insisted on playing the song for my cousin. Well, that turned into my Dad and cousin driving up and down my Dad's road at 11 in the p.m. blasting you guessed it, "Fishin' In The Dark."
5. Afternoon drive
Later in his life, Dad took in a rescue dog named Millie. The Maltese was abused and scared, but Dad soon made her feel safe and part of the family. He loved to take Millie for rides on his four-wheeler. He tucked the little dog into his shirt and away they'd go down his road. I can still hear the sound of the two of them zooming off to go visit the neighbors.
Sometimes it seems like five years. Others, five minutes. But one constant remains: The words you used to always say.
"Gone, but not forgotten."
Well, Dad you may no longer be with me physically, but you'll always remain in my heart.
Gone, but never forgotten.