Memories of Doug Dill




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Of course Dad had a great influence on my life. He was an adventurer and a lover of nature and he shared both of those traits with me. Two memories stand out.

Very Young Jan Fishing

Dad was not always patient in everything, but he taught me to fish and had endless patience doing so. I remember that he would take Wayne and me fishing, and when I was young, I would regularly return to him with a GIANT knot of fishing line that had somehow miraculously appeared around my reel. He didn't get mad, but would patiently untangle it and give me back the reel so I could go and fish some more. I have lots of good memories of fishing with Dad.

One time he took me to a little stream in the middle of a meadow and we had to crawl through the grass on our bellies to the stream so that the fish wouldn't see us. It was a tiny stream, but Dad told me just where to drop my line and, sure enough, there was a fish there and I caught it. He made me feel successful and so I enjoyed fishing. Sometimes though, fishing with Dad would require patience on my part too, because

Dad would always say, "Just one more spot to try, then we'll go..." Days could be long when fishing with Dad. Fishing wasn't a passive, sit-by-the-lake sport, it involved walking up and down streams and tributaries to find just the right spot. During these times, and on many family camping trips, Dad passed on his love of nature to me.

When Dad went to Alaska for a year and offered me a chance for free tuition at the University of Alaska, I jumped at the chance. It was a great experience for me and I have a lot of memories of living with Dad for the year. We had fun exploring together and had a few adventures, like the time Dad (uncharacteristically) drove the beige Toyota pickup off the road, into the snow because we were busy looking at the scenery instead of the road. As we stood by the truck, wondering what to do next, four big hockey players from the university team showed up and asked to help. They literally picked up the truck and put it back on the road!

Another story, that I still laugh about, also involves a hockey player. Dad and Sheila drove to Alaska with just a small trailer and so we had minimal household furnishings. Dad and I discovered the craziness of garage sale shopping and laughed together at how seriously many people took it as they raced from location to location. But, one of the things we never bought in Alaska was a vacuum cleaner. Our carpets got dirty and Dad had the idea to call a Kirby salesman to come and give us a demonstration. Part of the sales pitch was that they would shampoo the carpet to show us how well the vacuum worked. Dad asked the young man, who also happened to be a hockey player at the school, to vacuum our carpet instead. The carpet had not been vacuumed since we had arrived and was full of my long, red hairs, which challenged even the indestructible Kirby vacuum.

Doug in Alaska at the Glacier

When the salesman had to stop vacuuming to remove the hairs that had clogged the roller brush, he commented on the hairs and asked, "Do you have a dog?" Dad answered with a straight face, "Yes, an Irish setter." The salesman seemed oblivious to the real source of the hair. Maybe he was just being polite, but either way, he didn't make a sale that evening. We still joke about the Irish setter at our house. It still sheds long, red hairs all over the place. Stupid dog.

Living with Dad was fun, and paid for the rest of my college degree. I worked in the journalism department on campus so I learned the personalities of the various professors that Dad would talk about. We had fun playing racquetball on campus together with journalism colleagues and then sitting in the sauna afterwards. We went bird watching together. We picked berries on the tundra and then cooked with them. We ate a lot of ice cream. I'll always be grateful for the chance to go to Alaska with Dad.

I'm thankful for a father who taught me so much about integrity and hard work. He shared his passion for nature and adventure with me and shaped my life in ways that are impossible to enumerate.

I love you, Dad, from Jan

Marc Elliot Hall Henderson, Nevada 

Page created: 18 July, 2019
Page modified: 14 January, 2023

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