A special message from Mii amo General Manager, Jim Root
During an evening snowstorm in the high country of Colorado, my oldest son was born in March of 1999. As one of 10 kids, my parents were so relieved their oldest child had finally settled down and were thrilled with another grandchild.
Later that Spring, my dad passed away on Father’s Day. Before that, I never gave the day much thought, but it immediately had an entirely different significance and is a day I cherish throughout the year.
So now 21 years later, Jimmy has graduated from college and is on his way. As I’m still on my way, I’m also so proud to be his dad and know that my dad would enjoy every minute of him.
My dad and I struggled at times like fathers and sons will do, but I always knew he only wanted the best for and of me. Through challenging and triumphant times alike, he was always there for me no matter what.
As much as we grew up in the country, caring for animals that were part of the family, tending big gardens and heading out on lots of adventure, it wasn’t until many years away from home that my dad and I discovered we shared a similar first memory of when watching birds became more than just a casual affair for each of us.
Our memories where worlds apart but they and the conversations around them were what really began bringing us back together. Birds rekindled the connection and our conversations quickly became about anything and everything else. It was really cool talking with my dad again.
My dad watched a King Fisher on a lake in upstate New York. My King Fisher was on the Madison River in Montana.
In the Spring of 1999, my dad was struggling with his health. Every day after work, Jimmy would be strapped to my chest and we’d go out exploring as Winter was slowly giving way to mud-season.
As we began a mid-June walk late in the day along the creeks of 7-mile Canyon, a King Fisher silently came up from behind us which they never do. He landed a distance away and just waited which they never do. Pretty Cool plus it was Jimmy’s first King Fisher and how could I not think of my dad? Surprisingly, the King Fisher let us get very close to him which they never do.
We stopped, said hi and he silently flew further down the Canyon but not too far away and perched on the top of the next tree. Again, we got close, said hi and he silently flew a bit further but still within sight. This was now really cool, but it was getting late and I decided to follow him one more time. As we approached, the late afternoon shadows were giving way to twilight and the mountain cold was settling in. Once more, we stopped and said hi expecting him to continue down the canyon. The King Fisher just sat there and quietly looked at us which they never do. Suddenly, he rattled the King Fishers call, turned and flew away out of sight back up the canyon which they always do.
It was time to go home.
That night my dad passed away and I am forever grateful he connected with Jimmy and I on that walk. He’s been with us ever since.
If hindsight is 20/20, I can’t help but wonder what this year of 2020 offers? After 21 years as a dad and still my Father’s son, I hold these memories of 1999 especially close forever. Along with everything else that has transpired; all the good, the bad and the indifferent in one way or another, they all go in the mix and we go from there.
Jimmy is embarking on the next leg of his Journey, as am I and we both have my dad as an unending influence. I am so proud to be dad for both Jimmy and Chis and equally proud to be Tom Root’s son.
Happy Father’s Day!