Most of my interactions with Farfar were centered on either having fun or being productive. The bulk of what I learned from him was practical. How to drive a nail, how to shingle a roof, how to field dress a deer, and things of that nature were the domain of Farfar.
Council was not his strong suit. Actually thatâ€™s not fair to say, Iâ€™m not sure if it was or not, it simply was not a big part of our interactions. However, based on one afternoonâ€™s experience while hunting, it has occurred to me that in not having more deep and meaningful conversations with Farfar, I may have missed out on more than I realize.
I had returned early from the morning hunt and Farfar and I were working on setting up camp while my father stomped around in the woods. Dad was frequently out longer than I wasâ€¦ probably a big part of the reason he was the (much) more prolific hunter. I enjoyed hunting, but I also enjoyed getting back to camp and spending time with Farfar (and, letâ€™s be honest, enjoying the fruits of his labor over the camp fire!).
One afternoon we were sitting in front of the fire and out of the blue he asked me who I was dating. I told him no one at the moment, but there was someone I had my eye on. He asked what I was waiting for, and I (honestly/foolishly?) responded that I didnâ€™t think she would respond positively to my overture.
His reply, like so many of the things he said to me over the years, was short and to the point (Iâ€™m paraphrasing here, but it is very close)â€¦
Remember this: rejection only hurts for a day or two, regretâ€¦ is not so forgiving.
That single sentence changed my life from that day forward. Not as enabling, reckless and all encompassing as â€œitâ€™s easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permissionâ€, it created a wonderful synergy between the â€œstrike while the iron is hotâ€ confidence of youth, and the â€œtâ€™is better to have loved and lostâ€¦â€ knowledge that can only be gained from experience.
I became a better, more confident man on the mountain that dayâ€¦ although, Iâ€™m sure there are a decent number of women (if you have known me long enough, you can insert a â€œsuitâ€ joke here) who wish I had stayed out in the woods with my dad and missed that conversation altogether!!
When I think of all the things I mightnâ€™t have done over the years, without this one morsel of experience, I find myself once again overwhelmed with appreciation for a man who so simply and efficiently conducted the business of his life.
Thank you Farfar, I love you, and miss you terribly alreadyâ€¦