Moose River Farm Blog

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day

           Happy Father's Day,
This weekend I am reminded of three fathers who have touched my life.  My own father has appeared twice on the blog, (Summer’s Promise and Realizations).  Years after his death, my mother was fortunate to marry another wonderful man named David who graciously brings her to visit me in the Adirondacks every summer.  The third of these great dads was Big Rod, (my Rod’s father), a generous man who lived quietly between summer in the Adirondacks and winter in Florida during the two decades that I knew him.
Several times a year, we received a box from Rod's Dad that contained the latest back issues of Fine Woodworking and Fine Home Building.  In addition, there was always an assortment of newspaper and magazine clippings about animals, (particularly horses), that Big Rod had collected over the months between packages.  Like a greeting card, these tokens expressed that he thought enough about me to take the time to clip and accumulate the items until enough had been collected to justify the postage.  In addition, a whole collection of decorative plates arrived from time to time over the years.  Each one vividly depicting an animal theme by artist Bill Bell.  Big Rod’s thoughtful generosity was perhaps his greatest legacy.  In today’s excerpt from Finding My Way to Moose River Farm, we say farewell to this wonderful man and remember him fondly where his ashes lay scattered for eternity.


 From: A Streak of Gains and Losses
Sadly, Big Rod passed away from congestive heart failure within the first week of our move to MRF. His death was not unexpected and we were grateful for being fairly well settled before we had to travel to Florida.  A good friend named Lisa Bolton agreed to stay in the house and care for our animals while we were away.  Her wonderful attitude and sense of humor made it easy for me to organize my lists of pet care quickly and leave the following Sunday morning.
The weather in Florida was sunny and warm for the three days that we visited Sarasota.  Rod’s sisters had all gathered with various members of their own families to pay their respects to this generous man whose greatest sacrifice was made to his country as a bombardier during World War II.  No one knows what demons haunted him after the war, but he managed to prosper and care for Rachel and his family until the very end.  Of course I knew him best at Sunny Cliff on Raquette Lake from June through September.  For four months he tended his huge and bountiful vegetable garden, nurtured his apple trees and puttered about the property in a flannel shirt and an old pair of shorts or work pants.
In the earlier years of our marriage, Rod’s dad played golf twice a week in Thendara and Inlet.  As his health, particularly his breathing, became compromised he withdrew from those social activities, preferring to remain at camp.  Sunny Cliff is designed for young people and as Big Rod’s emphysema made it difficult for him to get around, he stopped coming to Raquette and stayed in Florida.  Sadly, he never got to see Rod’s completed masterpiece.  However, he was able to visit the farm in the early phase of construction just after we acquired the property.
The following summer my Rod's sisters and some of their children sprinkled Big Rod's remains in various locations around Sunny Cliff.  Having climbed so many mountains as a child while attending camp, he never did make the hike up West Mountain, (due west of Sunny Cliff), claiming that the only way he would ever get up there would be after he passed away.  Dutifully and lovingly, his remains were carried up the mountain so that he could gaze upon Sucker Brook forever. 
In the 'old house' at Sunny Cliff and before electricity became available, (Big), Rod spent his evenings reading under a kerosene lamp and listening to music on his A.M. radio. 

Rachel and, (Big), Rod Phinney

 Adam and Eve

 Noah's Ark

In The Beginning
(Can you find T-Rex?)

Santa Paws

2 comments:

  1. Once again, thank you for sharing..... Big Rod sounds like a wonderful man , he would have loved the masterpiece your Rod has created, I'm sure a master craftsman just like his dad!

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  2. Great post Anne! Made tears come to my eyes thinking of my Dad. I remember meeting Big Rod at the camp. What a beautiful treasure that camp is and what life he must have given it!

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