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Welcome to my blog! While I'm not a consummate blogger, I hope to make entries now and again on subjects near and dear to my heart. Whether it is something that I found to be an interesting Gee Whiz, or a funny experience from my adventures with Field Guides, this is the place for know, those things.
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My Dad

Posted Friday 21st September 2007 at 17:50 by Chris Benesh
Updated Friday 21st September 2007 at 17:52 by Chris Benesh
This post doesn't relate to birds directly, but to the person responsible for getting me interested in birds in my youth. My Dad, Bill, had been a bird watcher as a child as part of his becoming an Eagle Scout. During his mid-forties, he rediscovered his love of birds, with me prodding him to get out and enjoy them like he had done when he was a kid. It made sense too since it was a less labor intensive hobby than crashing and repairing model gliders. Ironically, it was my hiking with him when he was birding that turned me on to the hobby myself (though hobby doesn't nearly convey its importance to me now). Our shared passion for birding also unlocked lines of communication and brought us closer together than we had ever been. This closeness was to last a lifetime.

My Dad's love of nature and the outdoors was manifest long before he returned to birding. Memories of my childhood are filled with thoughts of great hikes, camping trips to Big Basin in the Santa Cruz mountains, and longer forays to the Sierra Nevadas of California. Then there was all of the fishing we did together. Dad freeing lures snagged under rocks and boulders, and time spent unsnarling all of the fishing line my brother and I had managed to entangle around our fishing reels. We even managed to catch a few fish. We also did a lot of beach combing, tide pooling, and hunting for fossils in the Santa Cruz mountains, often traveling around in his old beat up Karmann Ghia. That car got us just about everywhere we wanted to go.

Once I left home for college and later my work with Field Guides, I didn't see my Dad nearly so often. We did a few birding trips together, including my first visit to southeast Arizona. We even managed to get a Honda Prelude down into California Gulch so we could see Five-striped Sparrow. He also came and visited me while I was living in Austin, Texas and the two of us made a birding foray to the Rio Grande Valley in July. Wow, was that hot!

Around the time that my first child was born, my parents moved to Arizona to be close to the grand kids. My Dad was a great help with the kids, looking after them so that my ex-wife and I could get a little adult time. My Dad and I still had a few travel plans in the works, but he became sick in 2003, which put some of these plans on hold. We traveled together to Belize in 2005, and it was great to introduce my Dad to tropical birding. We had a great time together, but it would turn out to be our last birding trip together.

Wednesday morning marked the passing of my father, seventy-six years young. He had been battling multiple myeloma and esophageal cancer for over four years. The attached picture is from happier times with my Dad, on his brother's ranch in northern California back in the summer of 1979.

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Total Comments 10


joannec's Avatar
A moving account Chris, sorry for your loss. My father died not so long ago, it's hard but the sadness does go with time. Thinking of you.

Posted Friday 21st September 2007 at 18:22 by joannec joannec is offline
Thank you for sharing these memories and feelings. I am truly sorry for the pain of your loss, but it must also feel good to have had so many shared experiences. Reading this brings to mind so many great outdoor "adventures" with my own kids. You were blessed to have him as a dad, but I'm sure he also felt very blessed to have you for a son. I'll be thinking of you.
Sara K
Posted Friday 21st September 2007 at 19:57 by sara k sara k is offline
Lisa W's Avatar
Thank you for sharing these memories with us. Your Dad sounds like he was a fine man and a great father. I am sorry for your loss.
Posted Saturday 22nd September 2007 at 02:10 by Lisa W Lisa W is offline
My condolences to you Chris. All the best to you. He obviously left an amazing mark on you as you are carring torch in a big way. - Dave
Posted Saturday 22nd September 2007 at 03:12 by danehower danehower is offline
Dr Manjeet Singh's Avatar
Sad to hear about your loss havent lost him..he is in you and a part of you..and dont forget the wonderful memories you have of him.. ..He LIVE ON In You..bitter sweet memories remain..and gradualy only the sweet dad paseed away 11yrs ago..but even now..when ever i play a practical joke on my family..i see him standing beside me and my goes on..regards.
Posted Saturday 22nd September 2007 at 07:59 by Dr Manjeet Singh Dr Manjeet Singh is offline
Adalia's Avatar
A lifetime of shared memories will carry you through...your Dad lives on Chris. My condolences to you and your family.
Posted Saturday 22nd September 2007 at 08:05 by Adalia Adalia is offline
Larry Lade's Avatar
My condolences also, Chris. It is a difficult time when you lose a parent. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Posted Saturday 22nd September 2007 at 11:03 by Larry Lade Larry Lade is offline
Chris Benesh's Avatar
Thanks to all of you for those kind thoughts and words. I am grateful that I had many great times with my Dad and that I had time to prepare for his death. That has definitely made the transition easier, though I will always miss his voice, his touch, and his wisdom. But his spirit lives on in my memories of him.

Posted Sunday 23rd September 2007 at 15:09 by Chris Benesh Chris Benesh is offline
Sue Wright's Avatar
Sad to read the ending Chris, but such a joy to read it all through. Keep it all close to your heart Chris and you'll always have him there alongside.

All best wishes,

Posted Tuesday 25th September 2007 at 02:09 by Sue Wright Sue Wright is offline
Hi Chris, I just stopped by your blog for the first time. This post, and the others, are great. My father got me interested in birds with many trips to "look for hawks" in the Great Swamp NWR in NJ. He tags along on some of my trips I lead for NJ Audubon. I've subscribed to your blog and I'll keep up with the posts.
Posted Thursday 18th October 2007 at 12:50 by pbelardo pbelardo is offline
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