Special stories recall and honor fathers

Sometimes, Dad is frustratingly right, like Alvin Joyner whose fishing advice his son, Chris Joyner, chose to ignore. The result was a hook in the hand.

When David Maddox came home from deployments and shortly after he walked in the door, he and his daughter would turn on some music and dance.

Greg Roles sits with some of his grandchildren in this photo from Alisha Howard. “The thing I remember most about my dad was that he was always there,” Howard wrote about her father.

Kristin Winn’s dad, Harold Ragnar Rud, is the guy on the right, getting an award at the Norge Ski Club. “They had this great old clubhouse that had all sorts of trophies and old skiing memorabilia in it,” wrote Winn, whose dad taught her how to ski.

This photo of Louis Brown was taken in 1957 in Wichita, Kansas. Brown’s daughter, Priscilla Mangnall, recalls the many hours she spent tagging along with her father.

Veronica Daehn Harvey, her daughter, Paige Stickney, and Harvey’s father, Michael Daehn, pose for a photo on the set of Daehn’s production of “A Christmas Carol” at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where Daehn is a theater director and professor.

Dads change diapers — so many of them, at all hours of the day and night.

And they change them with efficiency and competence, not the hapless bumbling often played for yuks on mediocre TV shows.

Also, dads plait soft, flyaway hair into respectable braids and kiss boo-boos better. They

assemble a mean lasagna and take

a deep breath before addressing a middle school miscreant who has just arrived home from a stint in the principal’s office.

They take toddlers to the park without pratfalls and young adults to college without totally falling apart (though the tears are inevitable). They extend a steady, guiding hand through marriages, first mortgages, new parenthood.

And their children remember — the moments, the glances, the conversations, the events. What their dads do and say, whether they realize it or not, helps craft the adults that children become.

Father’s Day is the time to think, “I remember when my dad…” and experience the memories as fresh as when they happened. In honor of dads, we asked people to share those “I remember when my dad…” moments.




I remember when my dad…

...and I went on a fishing trip in eastern North Carolina when I was home from grad school. We were having an amazing day intercepting striped bass making their yearly spawning run. I pulled in a nice one but realized the fish swallowed the hook. My dad said, “Just cut the line and tie another hook, that one’s a keeper.” He was right, it was a keeper, but no way was I going to cut the line and tie another hook.

Holding the fish’s mouth with my left hand, I struggled to free the hook with pliers in my right. My dad didn’t even look back from his fishing chair and said, “You’re going to hook yourself.” I kept trying to free the hook, pulling and contorting with ever-increasing force. Suddenly, the hook freed and went directly into my left hand — in the meat of my palm and out the other side. My dad could hear my deep stomach grunt and squeal as I dropped the fish and pliers in the boat. He never looked back, just cast his rod and said, “Yep, told ya.”

Now a father, I understand that frustration. Sometimes you just have to say, “Yep, told ya.”

— Chris Joyner about his father, Alvin Joyner

I remember when my dad…

...taught me to ski. He started me out before I was 2 years old, and when I got older he would put me between his skis and help me go up the rope tows at the little Midwest ski areas in Wisconsin and Illinois. One time, when I was about 5, I was bombing straight down a hill and went off the edge of the trail where they had pushed down some big trees to clear the run. My skis went into the roots of one of the trees and I started screaming. The tree looked like a big monster to me. My dad had to take his skis off and wade through three feet of snow to get me out.

“You have to turn,” he said to me. So, I eventually learned to turn.

He always encouraged my interest in skiing, and he understood why I moved away from home after college to be a ski bum in Colorado. I know he would have loved to live in Colorado as well. Unfortunately, he had bad knees and 15 knee surgeries over his lifetime, so the snow and ice sent my folks to Florida to retire instead. My dad’s been gone for more than 21 years now, but I miss him all the time, especially around Father’s Day.

— Kristin Winn about her father, Harold Ragnar Rud



I remember when my dad…

...would be in charge of me on the weekends, mostly Saturdays. My mom worked five days a week and saved Saturday for chore day, and she’d mostly just want me out of the way. Back then, folks didn’t plan “play dates” as they do now. We just tagged along. 

Daddy loved the Saturday sales at Perry’s Auction. About belt-high, I would mingle among the crowd, ever so mindful not to step in “chew” or get spat on. Daddy would give me a nickel and I could get a soda pop (preferably orange) or an ice cream bar. Against the back fence were the cages of chickens and rabbits and tables of potatoes and onions. When it was all over, Daddy would stand in line at the little pay shack to claim whatever he had bought. Sometimes he’d bring home a box of miscellany for mother that would contain some antique dishes or knickknacks.

In the spring, I would just follow him around the garden as he rototilled, irrigated or planted. In the summer, we’d go fishing on Grand Mesa. He’d fish, and I’d sit up in the aspen trees, reading and carving my initials in a tree. I suppose these were play dates, but they weren’t about me. They were about my dad and his leisure time and me being there with him. He didn’t have to entertain me, he just had to be and let me be me. 

— Priscilla Mangnall about her father, Louis Brown


I remember when my dad…

...was always daring us to do something. One day, my mom had made banana bread, and we had leftover refried beans from dinner. My dad dared us to eat the banana bread with refried beans on it. We told him we would only do it if he did it first. He did (and oddly found he liked the taste of it) and then the rest of us had to as well.

But the thing I remember most about my dad was that he was always there. He is not a person who hugs or shows emotion much, but I always knew how much he loved us because he always showed up to all of our events to support us and was always so proud no matter how we did. I can never express how much that meant to me and my siblings.

— Alisha Howard about her father, Greg Roles


I remember when my dad…

...was the love of my impressionable, 4-year-old heart.

Four-year-olds, of course, don’t understand the demands of adulthood, the realities of bills and relationships and running a household and raising a child and just plain making it all work.

Both my parents were babies themselves when they had me, their first. My mom was 19 and my dad was 23. They worked hard to do what they were supposed to as a young family, to not only make ends meet but to make life seem meaningful. I remember that time — the early 1980s — as a simpler one, an easier one somehow, to raise a child, to find that elusive happiness we all seem to want.

Or that’s my grown-up view of what it was like, back then. My mom and dad, who later divorced, may have a different view entirely.

My dad, back then, would take me to the neighborhood park in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where I was born, and we played superheroes. I would strap red and blue plastic bracelets to my little-girl wrists and pretend to be Wonder Woman. He would be Batman and Robin and anyone else I wanted him to be and together we would fight bad guys.

We always won.

Wonder Woman, today, is my truth teller, my reminder to lead a brave life, to take chances, to not be afraid. To live with the naivete and wonder we all had when we were 4.

— Veronica Daehn Harvey about her father, Michael Daehn



I remember when my dad…

...would come home from deployments while we were stationed in Germany. I was very young and would wait anxiously by the front window for him. As soon as he walked in, and while he was still in his uniform, we would turn on some Elvis or Buddy Holly and dance around the living room. It always ended with us on our backs, legs and arms flailing wildly in the air, doing my favorite “Dead Bug” dance move. We still love dancing around the house… although the Dead Bug isn’t our staple move anymore.

— Erica Maddox about her father,

David Maddox

I remember when my dad…

...took me to Bodie, California, a ghost town. It was a hot summer day and dust was everywhere! As my dad and I, recovering from a night sleeping in a tent when it was 40 degrees out, were wandering around this old town, we came to a church, the Methodist Church of Bodie. I just remember how we stared into the church through metal gates, looking at all of the pennies that had been thrown on the floor — hundreds of them, starting from the gate and scattered all the way up to the pulpit. As we were staring into the church, my dad says, “I wonder how many wheat pennies are in there?”

My father and I have spent years collecting wheat pennies and we plan on taking my daughter back to Bodie next summer.

— Katie Formicola, about her father,

Pete DeBever


I remember when my dad…

...took an 11-year-old me to the library, checked out “The Catcher In the Rye” and handed it to me. Not only did he trust that I could grasp the literature at that young age, but he recognized that it would resonate with me in a way that I never anticipated. It remains my favorite book, and the only one that I have read multiple times.

— Nicole Falcone about her father, Nicholas Angelo Falcone


I remember when my dad…

...gave me my ninth birthday present. Over the previous year, I had been replaying Martina McBride’s greatest hits album over and over in my bulky, silver CD player. So, he presented to me two tickets to Country Jam, which happens on my birthday weekend almost every year. That particular year, Martina McBride was playing on Saturday.

Excited for my first concert, my father and I headed out to Mack to experience what now is one of my favorite childhood memories. The day was HOT, a completely scorching summer day. After wandering around the Jam for a couple of hours, and sucking down gallons of ice-cold lemonade, we made our way through the dusty crowd to our seats toward the back of the VIP section.

I can remember the sun starting to set and the cool air thermals crawling down the mountains. Finally, Martina took the stage and the crowd was absolutely nuts. As Martina was belting out “This One’s For the Girls,” my godparents, who were sitting in the front row, quickly traded seats with my father and me, and I got to see my musical idol perform not 10 feet in front of me. And I could swear to this day that Martina looked straight at me and winked. It was one of the happiest moments of my life, and I have to thank my dad for giving me the musical experience that I still treasure today.

— Kate Shuman about her father, Robert Shuman


I remember when my dad…

...won season tickets to the Broncos in 1965. It was through a contest at Arby’s and he was awarded two free lunches and two tickets to each game for the entire season. I had a younger brother and my dad was a huge Broncos fan, yet he sacrificed his two tickets so that his sons could attend each game that year. My dad would drive us to Arby’s before each home game, get us lunch and then drive us to the game, waiting in the parking lot until it was over so he could drive us home.

This was not as meaningful to me at the time he was doing it, but when my own son, Jason, was born, I fully understood the love you have and the willingness to give everything you have to your children.

My father passed away 29 years ago when my son was only 1, and I never got to have a real adult conversation with him as a man before he was gone. If I had the opportunity to have that conversation now, I’d tell him he instilled great virtue in me by doing this, as well as other wonderful things, for his children.

— Doug Sorter about his father, Arnold Sorter


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