Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Living a Conscientious Life

Amazing...This is a picture of Vic Sundquist, 95 years old, in the log cutting contest at the Dolores, Colorado Escalante Days celebration last weekend. A better man and person, you'll never meet. 

He and our dad worked together in the logging camps and mountain forests above Dolores, affiliated with the now-underwater logging town of McPhee. In their time, logging was the gold rush... the dot com era of their generation... where young risk-taking men could make their fortune. All of those young men would later take that same courage and toughness into WWII. Poor Germans and Japanese didn't stand a chance.
As kids, we had the blessing of being able to sit around and listen to their stories. Those stories shaped our perception of what it meant to be men, husbands, and fathers... And especially what it meant to live a life with a mischievous sense of humor, a sense of adventure, and live life in such a way that you have memories and stories to tell... like having the gumption to join a log cutting contest when you're 95 years old and cut through that log in 22 seconds. "Live your life the right way, not half-assed. For hell's sake, get up early and make your bed the right way. Tuck in your shirt and wear your hat the right way. Mend the fence the right way. Set the water the right way. Stack the hay the right way. Feed, water and take care of your horse the right way, first, then yourself. Drive your car and truck and take care of them, the right way. Open the door for women. Love and protect everyone's children, not just your own, at all costs. Grab for and fight over who pays the check at the restaurant. Wave gently to oncomers when driving on backcountry roads. Hunt and fish because you love Mother Nature, not because you love a trophy to yourself. Climb a mountain so that you can see, not so everyone can see you. It's ok to stretch a tall tale once in awhile, but never, ever lie or cheat. Help someone who needs it, but be very reluctant to accept help yourself. Stay strong and independent." These are not their words, but their actions. I guarantee that Vic Sundquist oiled, tightened, and sharpened the blade on that chainsaw, himself, the right way.

This is conscientious living.

Much later in life, after Vic's wife and our dad passed away, our mom and Vic struck up a mini-romance, mostly just a deep friendship, that never ended. Mom would often say, "He is such a good and interesting man." And that he is. And that they were.


Deb Stephens Miller said...

And, before his competition, he carried the chainsaw of one of the women for her. He is an amazing man.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! How cool is that? How absolutely cool is Vic Sundquist? My mother rode in the parade with him that day and he is such an interesting man! He got the award for the Longest Living Male Graduate of Dolores High School and my mother, Annabel, got the award for the Longest Living Female graduate! So fitting for both of them and so wonderful both were able to attend the Reunion and walk up to the podium (mom with a little help) to accept their awards!! I saw Vic strutting up the sidewalk, chainsaw in hand, and never missing a step when he returned to his home after the chainsaw contest! He is strong is body and in mind! Really quite a rare, wonderful gentleman! I was honored to meet him......

Jimmy D said...

There is no surprise to me that your words are mine, and mine yours. Or, that you choose to do your best to live the path of what you just wrote, and that we are on the path together. As it has been for us since the beginning, we take our turn with each other; sometimes following and sometimes showing the way. It's the reason for my calls to you sometimes. The times when I feel like the path is not easy to see. And of course, it's no surprise to me that you encouraged me to write songs, and the first one I wrote is about following the Path......Riding the White Line. Path or line, it's your thoughts, and then your actions which is who you are in this world and your way of being. This is what makes me forever grateful to have you in my world and on the path together.

Anita Long said...

Well said! Thanks Dale
The "Greatest Generation" for sure.
Anita Sundquist Long

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