In 2004, I shot this blurry photo of my dad in Missoula, MT. When he saw it, he immediately decided that it was the photo he wanted included in his obituary. I have no idea why he instantly thought of his obituary, but last year we honored his request.

It’s been a year now since he passed away. I still catch myself thinking, “I need to remember to tell Dad about this,” only to realize I can’t. The world was better with him in it.

I’m glad I moved back to Montana when I did. Part of me wishes I had come back even earlier, but it is what it is. After spending most of my adult life 700 miles away from him, I got to spend the last four years a short drive away. We didn’t get to do everything we had planned, but we did get to do some fishing, and some grilling, and I was able to get to know him better. I’m grateful for that.

One night when I was around 14, I decided to sneak out of the house and wander around the small town of Highwood. When I had wandered sufficiently, I re-entered the house through the same window I had used to sneak out. After silently climbing through the window, I congratulated myself on a successful stealth mission. Then I looked up. Dad was standing there in his tighty-whiteys.

“What are you doing?” Dad asked.

“I wanted to go for a walk around town,” I replied.

“Next time just use the door.”

If you’ve got a good bottle of scotch or red wine, raise a toast tonight. Jack Daniels or Miller Lite would work, too. He had confusing tastes.

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