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Friday, January 20, 2017

My Hero is 75

Posted Thursday, November 5, 2009, at 12:58 PM

My family just recently celebrated my Dad's 75th birthday in October.   We are a Birthday Partying family anyway, sometimes to the annoyance of the Birthdayee(is that a word?)  We invite close friends and family for dinner (often just pizza) and the traditional "Cake N IceCream"  We have dinner, sit for awhile, and then have "Cake N IceCream".  Trust me, when you are a young one, it's torment going thru the motions of waiting for the "Time to Open the Presents" time!  The "Guest of Honor" gets the "Chair" and has presents brought to him.  (usually by the youngest one available, to make it             s   l   o   w   e   r  and oh so hard to wait) Of course the little presents are first.... mainly cuz we know it's the BIG ONE that you really want.  Birthday cards MUST be read aloud by the Honoree...and then passed around and appreciated and commented on how perfectly appropriate it is for that particular victim.                           Then the Big One!

Well, this year the Big One was himself.  My Hero/Dad.  I know if you've read much about anything I've said, I've said a few times    "My Dad says............."  or "My Parents say/told me/did this/did that........)  I can't tell you the respect I have for my father, and we all share it.  I love him still like a little girl adoring her father, and I always will.  We all do. 

He was a tough and unbending father when we were young children.  We knew if he said "No" he meant it, and we darn well better not ask again, or whine or complain.  That was It.  Period.  We knew that if Mom said no, we better not risk our lives by asking Dad.  They stood as one unit and never failed to support one another.  (A song by Holly Dunn says it  "Daddy's Hands"  makes me think of him every time I hear it.)

On the other hand .... he was always right in on the play that we had, rough housing on the floor, making forts outside with lawn chairs and blankets.... searching for and catching lizards, horny toads or whatever.  We camped as early as I can remember, and those were/are still some of my favorite memories.  We lived on base when Mom and Dad bought our first pickup truck and camper.  Dad went to pick it up (not sure where from now that I think about it.)  It took a million years for him to finally come driving up in that truck and camper.... soooo exciting.... That camper was truly one of my best memories.  Our best friends, the Christiansons bought a camper at the same time, and we all had motorcycles.  When I was young I rode with Dad and he'd race ahead and then hide from everyone, so they would pass us and not know where we were.  He just loved to play.  All us kids had our own motorcycles when we were old enough.  Yep, we got in lots of trouble, and there were accidents.... scarey times, but such fun. 

I used to go spend as much time as I possibly could with my Aunt Gladys and Uncle Bill at their ranch in Oreana.  I had a love of horses from an early age, and my parents lost me to Bill & Gladys often.  Bill & Gladys gave me my first horse when I was 11, and my Hero brought her home after putting up a fence on the acreage we had at the time.  The horse was a year old at the time, and she taught me immeasurable lessons.  My Dad helped me with some of the tough lessons, and provided "man power" when I needed it.  Sometimes I wonder how I survived, knowing what I know now, but he was there, through it all.

Dad and I built a 'barn' of sorts from a brand new 'trailer home' that had been half burned in a fire.  The unburned half was alot of work for he and I.  But after hours of hammering, measuring, sweating, and learning ... my horse had a barn with a bed built in it for me. 

Dad bought a broke down tractor for him and I to fix and get running.  We worked on that thing for hours, though I'm not sure how much help I really would have been, I cleaned oil and grime from it to me.  When it finally ran, it made a most satisfying "POP" from the can over the exhaust.  Success!

We also put together an old Jeep Willis (not sure if that's the correct name for that) and we drove it around for fun.  I may be mistaken, but it seems like we sat on some plywood on crates for seats for a time, but we were having so much fun.  I was reminded of that when Alan Jackson's song came out  "When Daddy Let Me Drive". 

Anyway, this type of memory recounting could go on for hours and days, I"m sure.  And alot of it was reminisced at the party we had for him last month.  I go over that party often in my mind, and savor each moment to have that pleasurable feeling as often as possible.  It was kind of like Christmas.  You wait and plan for so long, and it's over way too quick.  It was a surprise party, and he says he was surprised.  I don't know how that can be, I'm sure he couldn't really believe a monument like 75 would get by us that easily.  Most of us live here or nearby.  My brother doesn't.  Jerry had told us he wasn't going to be able to make it, and I wasn't sure whether to believe him or not.  I couldn't believe he wouldn't "do whatever was necessary" to be here, but I know how life gets in the way.  The celebration would go on, and we would miss him.  MY Celebration started the day before my Dad's party when my daughter Katie and 2 of my Grandsons were there at my house.  The oldest, Austin, said, Grandma there is someone else in your house.  And there before my shocked eyes, was the wayward brother Jerry. 

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I'm the 'baby' of my brother and sisters, and he is next in line.  We hugged and I cried, while blubbering "Thank you for coming.... it's good to see you at a Happy Time"  He was here 2 years ago just in time to lose my sister, Arlene.  It truly was a joyful treasure for him to be here.  We had plans to have a family portrait taken with Mom and Dad, their children, spouses and Grandchildren and Great Grand Children.  Now we would be as complete as possible.  It's hard to have thoughts like that, but we really wanted one huge group picture before we lost anyone else.  Now that would be possible. 

No one else knew that he was there, and I had that little thought/gift tucked in my heart all the rest of that day, til we went to my sister Ardie's the next day to surprise her.  Wayne and I got there first, and I was able to photograph her seeing him and having that look of befuddlement when she was looking out in her field at him, and then the realization hitting her that it WAS him.  More Tears.

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So, while all of us gathered for the party, we had lots of tears and shared stories of Dad. 

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(above left) My sister Arlene's children Audi & Maggie Noble.  Maggie with the Grand daughter Arlene never knew, Autumn.

(above right) Wayne Lehto, Joey Miller, Narisha Fox with Caleb, Evan Miller with Bryce, Katie Miller with Cash.

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(above left) Joey Miller, with Jerry's wife Doreen.

(Right) My sister Ardie McMonigle with Doreen.

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In both pictures above, my son Evan with Bryce and Jerry.

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(left) Evan's daughter Jillian & Bryce 

(right) My daughter Katie and Cash looking at pics of Dad over the years.

Finally Mom and Dad pull in and we gather at the door waiting to yell  "Surprise!!!"  Let me tell you,  both of them were surprised.  Mom knew about the party, but not about Jerry.  I also got to photograph this.  Trust me, I was in heaven.

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While everyone was clean (before eating and other possible accidents) we went right out for the "Family Portrait" of a lifetime.  There are soooo many variables in the portraits, of different groups with Mom and Dad, and I am sharing just a few with you.  The weather was perfect, and the setting was beautiful.  Kids were as patient as can be, and we were blessed to have us all together for this momentous day. 

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Sig and JoAnn Clark with Great Grand children. 

from left to right.

Austin, Cash, Autumn, Jillian, Caleb, Bryce, Colby, Kaitlyn

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Orie Noble, Audi Noble, Maggie Noble, Autumn Noble

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(Left) My daughter Katie with her sons Austin (goofy) and Cash

(Right) My son Evan Miller with Jillian and Bryce

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My son Joey                                           Katie and Joey

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(left) Ardie's boys Jesse, Casey, Ardie, Butch

(right) Jesse/Amy with Kaitlyn, Ardie, Butch, Casey/Narisha with Colby & Caleb

After the portraits were done, we went inside to eat and continue doing party things.

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Above center is Wayne and I. 

Above left & right is my favorite daughter in law (my only one) Jessie Miller.  Her name was Jessie Miller before she married my son, so it was convenient that she didn't have to change her name.                                                 She is still Jessie Miller.

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I'm proud to say my boys both love to play with children.  Joey is eating Kaitlyn's toes, and Evan is showing Bryce the wonders of balloons.

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Everyone took a moment to go down

Memory Lane

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Left- Dad blowing out a bonfire worth of candles

Center-Jerry and my best friend clear back from High school Margaret  (she is married to Rick Christianson, who is one of the Christianson's who camped with us as kids)

Right- Haleigh (Margaret's Grand daughter) and Jill


I won't make you see all the pictures, but if you want to see more, click on the album above.

My daughter Katie had written a letter to my Dad, her much loved Grandfather.  She had kind of meant to read it, but she knew she would never be able to speak thru her emotions.

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My sister Arlene's daughter Maggie

read it instead, while Dad sat on the couch surrounded by his family.  The letter talked about Katie's feelings for him and her respect and love, and how he returned that love to each and every one of us.  It talked about having fear of letting him down, and how we all knew that surely from time to time we had let him down, but that he never ever showed it.  She went on to say that she is sure she was speaking for all of us when she says that each and every one of us strives to make him proud and live up to him.               

There was not a dry eye in the house as we all thought of the situations she described that fit so perfectly.  He never let us down.

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I am proud and honored to share with you, this day in our lives.

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Showing most recent comments first
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Thanks Kim .... I appreciate each and every comment here. And it makes me happy knowing that if someone reads this and is made to feel 'good and warm inside' then my Dad's effect is spreading even further. We do love and appreciate every moment.... and my wish is for everyone to have the same.


-- Posted by jessiemiller on Tue, Nov 10, 2009, at 9:04 AM

Thanks so much for sharing that. Wow, what great memories! You are so blessed and I feel great knowing it. There is a warmth inside my heart now after looking at your family and sharing in your joy. Loved every second!

-- Posted by kimkovac on Tue, Nov 10, 2009, at 6:47 AM

From my Father's Brother (My Uncle Vance California)via email

I have always been proud to be your father's brother. Your blog was just too beautiful for words. Your blog just confirmed to me just how much I have missed really knowing my brother. With Sig being 5 years ahead of me, his interest were much different than mine. Mine were cowboys and indians and his were girls and cars. But, over the years I began to realize what a great brother I have, and I love him dearly. We wish him and Joan many years of good health and happiness.

Art Clark

-- Posted by jessiemiller on Mon, Nov 9, 2009, at 9:20 AM

Sharon Kilburn is one of my best friends,...and one of the people that my father has taken under his wing. In fact, my friends can all count on him for whatever they need. Dad likes to invite folks to Thanksgiving Dinner. Then he tells them, it's a 'standing invitation' and 'you might as well just plan it for the rest of your life'.

Love ya Sharon


-- Posted by jessiemiller on Sun, Nov 8, 2009, at 11:20 AM

My family and I are blessed to have been a part of your lives. We wish the very best for you, Sig. Not just on your birthday, but everyday. You and JoAnn are wonderful folks. Thank you for being the examples you are to us.

Love, The Kilburn's

-- Posted by SharonKilburn on Sat, Nov 7, 2009, at 1:48 PM

WAYL, sorry I didn'tsee your post earlier. Thanks for looking and for your very nice comment!

One thing about our family is that we do have 'events' all the time. Any excuse to get together and have fun. BBQ's are HUGE for us in the summer, and we take up a lot of yard when we get together.

Thanks again


-- Posted by jessiemiller on Fri, Nov 6, 2009, at 10:24 AM

MsMarylin, I wish everyone had a Dad like mine. I wish everyone had a Mom like mine. I honestly feel if everyone did have, the world would be completely different than it is. They taught me respect for other people, and for other living beings, and for others' belongings. Work ethics and morals. I was raised not to have an "I'm entitled" attitude but rather, I "will work for it" attitude. Especially, to love family and treat them as if you love them. None of us are perfect, but we strive.

Yes, I wish you had a Dad like mine, ...I have lots of friends he has "been Dad" to. And my friends' children have seen him as "Granpa" ...

It's possible to find someone like him .... most are willing to take another 'child' under their wings. Find or be someone for someone else!

Thanks for your comment!


-- Posted by jessiemiller on Fri, Nov 6, 2009, at 8:49 AM

This story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your family and your father's special birthday, with all of us. It is truly heartwarming! You and yours are very blessed.

-- Posted by Whyarentyoulistening? on Fri, Nov 6, 2009, at 8:45 AM


Thanks for sharing your Dad's 75th Birthday with all of us. He sounds like a wonderful Dad, and I only wish I had had one like him..... This day will last in your memories forever and the pictures can be Handed down for many many more years of enjoyment and walking down memory lane.

-- Posted by MsMarylin on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 9:00 PM

hmmmmmmmmm....Ontherocks.... you have an advantage....I don't know who you are, though for sure you do know us. I remember the times at Keystone parking lot back in the day. So.... fess up who you are and let's reminisce!

Thanks for the comment


-- Posted by jessiemiller on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 8:40 PM

Jessie your dad still looks the same as he did 30 years ago - he looks great!!!! I was asking somebody about Jerry the other day and some of those crazy times at the Keystone pizza parking lot "back in the day".. Your family looks great!!!!

-- Posted by Ontherocks on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 5:53 PM

Joe, he will be reading this, since I have insisted he does. He'll read your well wishes himself! Ha!

Thanks for your comment!


-- Posted by jessiemiller on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 2:39 PM

Jessie, you did a great job of putting the story and pictures all together to share with us. Thanks and you can pass on a late B-Day wish to the old fart LOL.

-- Posted by Eagle_eye on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 2:37 PM

If I bring tears to someone's eyes, then I've done a good job. Trust me, as I sat here writing it, I was all choked up. I bet you can see my Dad choked up in some of the pics...and especially of the one of him sitting on the couch by Katie, after Maggie read her letter. I'm not one much to cry, but this day got to me!

Thanks again, I love to read comments!


-- Posted by jessiemiller on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 2:27 PM

Traci, we are still working on all of that, with a scrap book of the momentos from the day. The Grand kids did art work for the walls, alot of that was in the pictures. It WAS truly a wonderfl day,...

thanks for your comment.


-- Posted by jessiemiller on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 2:25 PM

Oooops. Forgot. Great blog Jess. I am at work with tears. Thank you so much for sharing this special day.

-- Posted by OpinionMissy on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 2:24 PM

Oh Ardie and Jess...not a dry eye in this house either! Please tell Sig happy birthday from Rich and I. What a great man indeed. You are so lucky to have such a great family. All of my best to your mother as well (what a gal!). Ardie, did you do one of your CD's for him of his life?

-- Posted by OpinionMissy on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 2:23 PM

Me too Sis, I have never wished for any other family. Jessie brought me over a little figurine of snowman family with a sign that says "We stick together" ...she said it made her think of our family and she tells me all the time she's glad she got a "good one" in us.


-- Posted by jessiemiller on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 2:09 PM

Great Blog, Sis! I feel extremely lucky to have the parents and family that we do.

-- Posted by Ardie on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 2:04 PM

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I am interested in this Community, County, and the beautiful state of Idaho. Most of my photos will be in Idaho, but from time to time, they will be my vacations aay from Idaho. You'll see lots of my Children and Grand children, along with others in my family. Of course there will be horses and horse related things, and things I photo'd horseback.
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