Tribute to a Great Father


My dad wasn’t a great communicator, wasn’t outwardly affectionate, and wasn’t a person who did a lot with me as a kid.

On that cold dark November evening as I drove to the hospital the night he died, I thought about my relationship with him and what he meant to me. Trite but true. “I didn’t know what I had until he was gone,” which summed up my feelings then and on to this day.

One thing my dad HAD, if I can label it that way was: He Was There. He was around. He and my mom attended my football and basketball games, he attended church with me and came for the church programs. We ice fished a few times, we went to Amery on winter Saturday mornings to deliver eggs and get feed. A couple times we went to the Andersen Corporation summer picnic. Oh, yeah,  a couple Sundays in the summer we ushered together at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. And after Dad died my mom told me that one of the few times she saw him weep was when he watched my confirmation in that church.

He worked hard, he didn’t have a temper, and he presented himself to me as a solid, moral person. What more can I expect or ask for, a wonderful example.

The photo above shows us standing in one of the harbors / villages in Door County, maybe Sister Bay or Ephriam. My wife told us to stand over there, in front of those boats, and in hindsight the background was great. This is the closest we came to hugging, but I remember a firm handshake after graduating from UW-Superior after the ceremony. My dad, Harold Elkin. What more could I ask for.

4 Replies to “Tribute to a Great Father”

  1. What a nice tribute to your father. There is a lot to be said for being present. Reassuring to know your father was always there for you.

    1. Thank you, Carrie. He was a great man though we weren’t that close and didn’t have many father – son talks. Patient and steady, and a hard worker. Wonderful role model. CARRIE–how are you doing???

      1. Hello Loren,

        We were fortunate compared to other parts of the city. An incredible amount of rain fell in a short period of time. School was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey in my district and we are reporting back to work tomorrow. Our students will come back on Tues., Sept. 12. We have been out for the past two weeks due to storm damage to homes, schools, etc.

        Our subdivision is a little higher than the surrounding area, so we did not experience any flooding. I have been enjoying your blog and your travels in southern Wisconsin. What an enjoyable trip! Your photos and reporting have motivated me to visit a few of those places.

        On another note, I found the story about the lady living by the river in Amery fascinating. May I ask, is this story fact, fiction, or a mixture of both? Whatever the case may be, she was a unique individual. I hope all is well in central Wisconsin and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

        Take Care,


        PS – The picture with you and your father looks like it was taken in Ephraim.

        1. Carrie, always great to hear from you. Glad you didn’t suffer much in the hurricane. Must be odd to not be teaching your heart out at this time of the year, but soon it’ll get back to a little normal, right?
          The lady by the brook was 80% fiction. I found that picture/ painting? of the lady near a stone structure. I placed it by a small pond that formed downstream from our house east of Amery. Sometimes on those stories I place a “fiction” type word, but not sure how i’ll handle that as I move forward. It’s like starting an engine, pulling the rope, and that situation, her, the setting, my young age, it is ripe for a lot of stories and speculation.
          Yes, I think it was Ephraim I think. In looking at the map, it was a cove/ harbor of sorts but that land/ woods in the background south of us.
          The new story about Claire and her apartment in Mineral Point is another one that came to life after the trip last week. Mineral Point was a mining town, and there’s so much history, so many stone buildings, so much culture there. I’m going to have her be a reclusive writer like Emily, but venturing out in the dark of night to work and to haunt the town, in a good way.
          I thought you were going to say, reading these inspires you to write something of your own. If you have any kind of story, a framework of a story, please write it and send it. And I think you’d enjoy that part of the 3 states, including Dubuque IA down there, Platteville, many others. It was an OLD area, settled early in our state’s history. I appreciate the comments, please suggest or question whenever you want to. Good week to you, I’m headed to the Amery area to have someone work on the blog to improve it and see if there’s something I can do to get it out to more people. Eventually I’ll make money on it with subtle, classy ads (not Nascar type advertising)

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