The second Honorable Mention Award goes to…
Patricia Wigeland, for her essay entry on her “Pappy.”
Once, when maligning myself for something foolish done as a teen, my father chuckled saying, “Every one makes a foolish mistake once in awhile. If they say they never have, they are either lying or fooling themselves.”
“Pappy, you’ve never done anything foolish,” I had countered.
“I did. Once I bought a treasure map from a man for one hundred dollars when I lived in Utah during the Second World War.”
My father then bought a horse and rode out, map in hand, to seek his fortune. Taking food and water for himself and the horse plus a pistol for protection, he traveled for five days, the map as a guide, but found nothing. Turning back, he became painfully aware he had misjudged the needed amount of water. The horse stepped in a crevice after a snake spooked it and broke a leg. Pappy had to shoot the horse.
Wandering through the heat, he found himself followed by a vulture for two days. Walking until he found a river, he followed it to a bend and a miner’s cabin. The miner took him in, gave him shelter for a few days and a horse to ride home.
“What did you do with the horse?” I asked, amazed by the revelation.
“I brought him back,” Pappy answered, “because whatever else you do, you live up to your obligations. The miner saved my life. It was my obligation to return that horse.”
His wisdom wasn’t about never making a foolish mistake; it was about the consequences and a person’s obligations to correct them.
Pappy passed away at one hundred one years old. I guess he had the right idea.