Remembering My Father
Garry R. Flake
I am grateful for the life and example of my father, Bruce M. Flake. As a teenager, I remember trying to persuade him with, “But, everybody’s doing it.” He said, “We are not ‘everybody’ – we are a family with our own traditions and rules.”
One time he decided we were not giving Mother enough respect. He called a special family meeting and said, “I don’t think you children are giving your mother the support and respect she deserves.” He expressed his love and support for her and then asked each of us to express what she meant to us. Then, he asked us to improve and we did.
I asked permission to go to a dance over in the ward cultural hall. He granted it on condition that I would be home before midnight since we would be leaving at dawn the next morning to “ride the range.” The dance was fun and I was still there when my dad came to the dance at 12:20 a.m. I was shocked to see him come to the dance and made a quick beeline for him. I felt guilty for disobeying him. I expected him to say something as we crossed the street to our home. Not a word was said. I then thought, “I’ll bet he’ll talk to me about this when we get in the house.” All he said was, “Garry, better get to bed and be ready to leave early.” I thought he’d talk to me on the way to the ranch the next morning. Never another word was said! His late-night arrival at the dance was discipline enough.
When I was 15, I was one of the rowdy ones in Harvey Turley’s Mutual class. Several Tuesday nights, he tried to settle us down. One Tuesday evening after opening exercises and to our great surprise, our fathers – eight of them – were waiting for us when we arrived in the classroom. Brother Turley explained the situation then sent us home with our dads. Nothing was said until we got home where I sat down with him and Mother to explain what had been happening. The punishment was no more driving the pickup to the field to do evening chores. I could walk or ride my bike. It was a bit acrobatic to balance grain sacks on the bicycle handle bars. I asked how long before I could drive again. He said, “When you learn to be responsible again.” Several months went by before I was permitted to drive again. It hurt the pride of a fifteen-year old for friends to see him back on a bike. That hurt! Now, years later, I am grateful that he cared enough to discipline.
I learned respect for animals. My dad believed in handling cattle gently. I remember his reprimand as I used a board on a milk cow. He taught me to love nature and the beauty of the earth. The rejoicing following a good rain was exciting but taught lessons of gratitude, as well. He taught me of our dependence on God for every blessing.
Throughout life, no honor has been more significant than Bruce Flake’s words, “I’m proud of you.” I look forward to when he might once again say that to me and I can tell him that I am proud that he’s my dad.