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One of the things I miss most about Hazel South Dakota channel hot girls dad, 50 years after his death, is his voice. A word or two here, a familiar-sounding phrase there, mostly just snippets of tone and cadence.

But I have clearer, more enduring recollections of his voice at its most powerful — in song. Songs, actually, in particular Ave Maria sung in Latin, which is the only way I ever heard my dad sing it, of course. But it was incorporated into an existing -- for several hundred years -- Roman Catholic prayer honoring the Virgin Mary as the mother of God and seeking her prayerful intercession.

The prayer is a fundamental Catholic invocation that seems to transcend even itself when sung well, in Latin. And, oh my, my dad could sing it well. He had a sweet, strong tenor voice that carried throughout St. James Catholic Church in Chamberlain and absolutely filled the much-smaller St.

It was there at St. My cousin, Leo Woster, is the keeper of many family stories, including that one, which was passed on by his dad, my Uncle Frank, who farmed in partnership with my dad. During Mass he kind of peeked over his shoulder a time or two, looking up at the choir while they were all singing, but went back to saying Mass.

That was long before the Second Vatican Council reforms of the early s, which included moving the altar from the back of the sanctuary to to the middle, and having the priest celebrate Mass while facing the congregation rather than celebrating with his back turned. Inspiring a priest or bishop to do more than peek over his shoulder was a big deal. But Dad pulled it off. It was music, after all, that brought them together: a precocious piano-playing Irish girl from a farm south of Lyman and an accordion-playing Bohemian boy with a lovely voice from a farm over northeast of Reliance.

They came together at St. The St. But the steeple was salvaged and preserved at St. There on that consecrated ground last Sunday afternoon, I sat alone and out of the weather in a tiny chapel that my cousin, Red McManus, and other committed parishioners built to hold plot records and obituaries, and for people to sit and pray and remember.

I had driven my old white pickup out from Rapid City through muscular gusts and sometimes dense downpours, hoping there would be a break in the weather around Reliance. Hope faded just east of Kennebec, as a small opening in the clouds closed quickly.

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And it rained and blew during the hour or so I spent at the cemetery, and cut short plans I had to wander a bit on familiar ground. I have plans to go back for that anniversary, too. Red was just 68 when he died.

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But he got a lot done before that, even beyond the year marriage to his high-school sweetheart, Ruth Ann, and the kids and the grandkids and the great-grandkids. Oh, and did I mention cemetery caretaker? Yeah, that too. And that little cemetery is the better for it. Red worked tirelessly for decades in the care and improvements of the Reliance Cemetery overall and the St. For Red, it was a labor of love the endures, for the living and the dead.

I spent most of my 50th-anniversary trip back home at the cemetery, in fact, mostly recalling what I could of my father, a man I still love and miss every day but sometimes struggle to remember clearly. We have a few pictures, of course, of Dad and his farm-partner brother, Frank, wearing well-worn coveralls and standing in front of the Hereford cattle they raised with pride. And also of Dad holding a baby grandchild, posing with my Mom for a 25th anniversary celebration, lounging in the living room of our home in Chamberlain with his youngest son.

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We have a few clips of him in 8-millimeter black-and-white movies. And he lived and died before recording devices were popular and affordable. Instead, I look to the Ave Maria and other song recollections to connect with that voice. I get help from my older siblings, Jim, Jeanne, Terry and Mary Alice, who have their own remembrances.

And being older, their recollections tend to be better than mine. Later, it occurred to me that my dad was there, in that song, just Hazel South Dakota channel hot girls he lives in all those songs he used to sing so well. And not just in church. Leo also tells of another story, this time passed on to him by a family friend, of how Dad would use his voice as a gift — literally a gift — to friends and relatives during the hard times of the s. It meant a lot to them. He loved to sing during certain parts of the work he loved, and often did just that while driving tractors or other machinery.

My favorite story there comes, as you might expect, from the able keeper of family lore, Leo. Tough conditions they were back then, long before air-conditioned cabs and other comforts. Like his farm-partner brother, Frank, Dad was a tree planter and a soil conservationist. They had both lived and worked through the Dirty Thirties, and believed in the soil-conservation techniques that evolved because of it.

They believed in wildlife, too, and loved the process of shaping their land — built around two farms two miles Hazel South Dakota channel hot girls — into a consortium of shared pastures and grain fields, shelter belts and cover strips, in ways that produced a good income but left room for wild things. Both strong Catholics, they also believed in placing faith at the center of their lives, and as the foundation of their families.

I still remember the sight of my father, a glimpse through the open doorway of my parents' bedroom, kneeling with his hands clasped beneath his chin and his face almost touching the bed spread, as he said his nightly prayers. Dad was a pretty good second baseman, too, old timers have told me. That was back in the days of traveling independent ball teams that often played on pasture grass. And he had a nice, looping curve ball that he taught me to throw out in the gravel Main Street of Reliance, while we waited for an engine repair at the Co-op, or outside the Shanard Elevator as we waited in line to dump a load of wheat.

And he was proud of it. It had its own reputation, too. The military version of the Model 11 was widely used in World War II, in front-line combat, guard duty and even to help train airplane gunners in leading a moving target. The big headline came on the morning of Nov. Dad was lying alone with his Model 11 in a snowy fence line somewhere between our farmstead and the Missouri River when three greater Canada geese broke away from a flock as the birds pounded their way through the wind toward harvested grain fields to feed.

Dad fired three three times in succession and killed all three geese. Then he hustled back to our farmstead, hung the geese in the garage and went inside to learn from my mom that yes, it absolutely was time to head for the hospital in Chamberlain. Later that day I was born. He shot three geese with three shots! And that story. They worked together, hunted together, told stories together. And they had a great sense of mutual admiration. Dad was tall and lean but strong, a point that came up once when Noel and Don observed Dad bucking hay with an old IH Farmall tractor rigged with a Farmhand hay loader.

Power steering was available then, and Don already had it. Easier for Dad, at least. There were other stories, too, of course, and some not so beautiful.

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The cancer story was the worst. After a year of stomach trouble and treatment for a suspected ulcer, Dad ended up in surgery at a hospital in Minneapolis late in the spring of There doctors discovered that he had stomach and liver cancer that was inoperable, and unsurvivable. They sutured him up and sent him home, after he rejected the notion of radiation treatments that, at that time in medical technology, were more barbaric than meaningful in extending life. We got that hard Hazel South Dakota channel hot girls in early June, the week my sister, Mary Alice, was preparing to be married at St.

James in Chamberlain to Ken Haug, a kind-hearted guy who planned to stay a while. They've been married 50 years, and counting. It was a brutal convergence of events. But Ken and Alice slogged through it as well as they could and still managed moments of joy, amid all the sorrow, on the day they were married. But there was more sorrow to come. Plenty of it. It was a joyless summer after the wedding. My older siblings were off into their own lives, with their own families. They were pretty good at it, too, as it turned out.

The four of them have been married more than years total, and counting. But it was mostly my mom and me at home in Chamberlain that summer, trying to support dad as he spent most of two months dying -- day by day, pound my pound. There was no real hospice then. And palliative care was limited. Most everything fell on my mom, who was on a crash course in end-of-life resposibilities. They were taking him to the hospital, where he would die. He knew it, and said so.

And he knew it wouldn't be easy. Nor do I remember seeing him get in a vehicle, or what it was. Or what the day was like. But things clarified when Dad died in the hospital about two weeks later.

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I never saw him during those last two Hazel South Dakota channel hot girls. I never found the courage to walk through those hospital doors. I hid out, mostly, spending days alone along the river or out at our farm across the river in Lyman County, sometimes falling asleep in the easy chair in the living room where Dad used to fall asleep at night, after watching the weather on KELO. But I never did. I understand who I was then: a troubled teenager who had dropped out of school and dropped out of society in many ways, due to a variety of neurotic ailments. And that was before Dad was dying of cancer, and all my psychological unrest magnified.

So by Aug. At least once more. I was there when she died. And only then did I really understand not only what I failed to give to my dad at the end of his life, but what he might have given me in those final days, and the final moments, had I had the courage to show up. All I can do about that now is to continue to pray that someday I will forgive myself. I believe everyone else has, long ago — including my Dad. Family and friends came regularly.

He shaved my dad, with tenderness and care. Then when he was done shaving him, Ab would put a little slash of aftershave on Dad's face. The nurses mentioned that, especially the aftershave. They said it was so nice, as if Ab were getting him ready to go to a dance. And what he said was usually short and sometimes surly. He was often overwhelmed not just by the physical misery but also by the unfairness of it all, and all he wouldn't live to do and see and know. But he parted from friends and family on Aug.

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