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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Jun 15, 2014

mug_darrylmanzerI haven’t been able to celebrate Father’s Day with my dad since 1966, the year  he was killed in a helicopter accident in the ocean off of Carpenteria.

Every year I miss him just the same. My sons didn’t forget the day because their mother made sure they at least got me a card. She is gone now, too. I’ve not seen anything in the mail yet. Maybe tomorrow.

I’ll stop by Eternal Valley with some flowers again. You know, I never got him flowers when he was living. I think he would have liked that; at least I like to think he would have.

We don’t buy flowers for our fathers. Maybe we should. What do you think?

I used to think Father’s Day was just another retail holiday with an excuse to buy expensive cards and maybe small gifts. I remember getting my father a new razor for the day. Came with a shaving mug and brush. I still have the mug.

Don’t know how many pocket knives I got my dad over the years, but I do know Haskell’s or Newhall Hardware always had a great assortment. I have many of those little folding knives. Really neat ones, too.

Some years we went to a special place on Father’s Day. I remember at least one trip to Disneyland. I just read about the price increase for the Disneyland. A “Park Hopper Ticket” good for both the Magic Kingdom and California Adventure equals what was at least a week’s pay for my day back then. Does anyone remember the price for tickets in the early 1960s? I could look it up, but I’m trying to be happy as I write this.

Alton Manzer, the writer's father, at the monument for the historic oil well in Pico Canyon.

Alton Manzer, the writer’s father, at the monument for the historic oil well in Pico Canyon.

In 1963 or so, my dad had just completed restoring a 1957 DeSoto convertible, and we drove up the coast all the way to Benbow, a little town north of San Francisco. There was a resort there called the Benbow Inn. It was the sort of place we seldom went to, but one my mother had to stop and see.

We stayed at the Benbow Inn for three or four days. Celebrated Father’s Day (fathers got a free meal at dinnertime), and I met a young lady from Santa Rosa. For those three or four days, we were inseparable. We even got our own table at dinner.

We stayed at that “upscale” place because my father wanted to make sure my mother had something nice for a change. Looking back, I can remember he did that for her often. I do remember we sold some cattle before we took that short vacation.

Working for Standard Oil and running the cattle we had was a lot of work for our family. My dad taught me to ride. I began working with horses and cattle, thanks to him. I also learned many skills that some kids never will have the chance to learn.

Skills like setting a string of posts for a fence at even intervals and in a straight line. Taking care of cattle, cars, trucks, tractors and the generator that supplied our electricity the first few years we lived in Pico Canyon.

He taught me about raising cattle, hogs, chickens and a whole heap of cats that lived in the barn. Many of the skills I also learned from riding along with him as he made the rounds of the oil wells around our little valley. Those skills with pumps, pipes, valves and other oil field items gave me a head start when I joined the Navy and went into submarines.

Most of all, he gave me a lesson in life values that I’m sorry to state I’ve not always followed. But when I didn’t, I could still hear him telling me what I should be doing.

I can still imagine I hear his words today. His deep baritone voice of gentle tones and hearty laughs. Those are the memories that cannot be captured in a picture … ever.

Those memories are forever captured in my heart.

So with that thought, I say, “Happy Father’s Day” to all the dads still with us, and those who have passed, too.

I hope you had a father who was most of all a “dad.” I hope he is still with you. I hope you can spend some time with him today, in some way.

I cannot be with my dad once again, but he is as close as ever. He is in my heart.

 

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries, published on Tuesdays and Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

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2 Comments

  1. Nice Reflection. Hope your sons live close enough that you can spend some time with them today.

  2. Lisa Smith Lisa Smith says:

    Wonderful reflection Darryl, thank you.

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