(Continuation of the post: The Last Goodbye)
Tired of machine shops and bosses, my father had finally started his own business, a vision he had been dreaming about for as long as I could remember. I recall going to several different establishments in Door County, WI, growing up, in which my father went to check out a business for sale. One was a huge white house, just around the bend on the main highway running down WI-42, it is still called the Door County Ice Cream Factory and Sandwich Shop. We met with the current owners, toured the facility, and then my parents discussed different questions they had about the building. Both of them had mentioned, to me, that they were considering buying a business and if they did, we would have to move. I know they considered it, but I am not sure why they decided not to take this opportunity. I can only imagine it is similar to the same reasons, as a parent, I would consider before uprooting my family from their present home: the stress of leaving friends and family, and the cost of the facility/risk involved.
The other place I remember my parents looking at, the location I am not aware of, was on the water and it was an older motel. My thoughts, during the time my parents were touring the facility, was of my imagination wandering, considering the idea of living there. The land’s ambiance took my mind from considering the possibility of moving from all my friends and school, to the idea that it might be really fun and neat to live here; next to the water and the woods. A place not that far from where I currently lived. It was an environment I had come to grow a loving relationship with over the course of my childhood, up and to that very moment. We had taken weekend trips to Door County for picnics, beach time, shopping, hikes, and bike rides for my entire life so far. Maybe this would be my opportunity to live somewhere beautiful and serene. I am not sure what the conversation was like following this visit, but I do believe I expressed that I was not completely against moving here. My remarks may not have expressed my desires confidently, but I honestly recall not being opposed to the possibility.
My father’s desire was not just to have his own business but to live farther away from the city. Part of the reason we visited Door County a lot had been to enjoy our time together as a family and get outdoors, but it also surfaced from my dad’s resentment of living near other people who he was dissatisfied with; mostly their lack of respect and consideration for others. He dug out small ditches around our front yard to keep bicyclists off the lawn. If the tires got caught in the indentation, the bike would most likely tip over. The problem was, my dad wanted everything to be “just so” and we were in too close of proximity to neighbors to avoid their messes and thoughtlessness. We didn’t need a Neighborhood Watch; my dad took on that role and carried it out with mastery!
The kind of person to take things into his own hands; even other people’s community issues and frustrations from time to time. It was revealed to me when I was younger that my father had issues, at some point, with someone a few houses down from ours because he was revving his motorcycle up at 3 or 4 in the morning. Since this was disrespectful in my dad’s opinion, he got “Fed Up,” and snuck over to the person’s house, at a time the person was normally sleeping, and he poured sugar in the gas tank. He felt people should be more considerate and know not to do something like this; to think about how their actions were affecting others. At times he made drastic choices to get his point across and almost always took matters into his own hands.
Considerate and respectful were the words my dad stood for. People should look and act a certain way, according to his requirements. This gave me the insight to try my best to care for what I have, as if there is no replacement for it, and consider how my actions were affecting other people. Unfortunately, there is a lot of stress involved when a person is trying to please all the time; working hard and feeling contention from those less concerned with these types of expectations. He fought consistently with the landlord of the duplex across the street from our house. Our curtains facing that side of the street were always closed to keep my dad from having to view, what he felt, was a disgraceful property. He was the one in the neighborhood to call the police if people were too loud at night; started a petition to attempt to keep a cul-de-sac from being constructed at the end of our street; angrily took a boy by the shoulders and forcefully pushed him backwards about five feet for mouthing off to him (after refusing to pick up a soda bottle from the pavement he had just thrown up in the air; watching it come crashing down and spray everywhere, attempting to leave it where it fell, flippantly), and tracking down some teenage kids who, he knew, were harassing elderly people in the neighborhood. All the while, being steadfast, undaunted, and valorous!