Dear Dad

January 26, 2021

Dear dad,

Yesterday marked the third anniversary of your entry into Heaven. I came down to Aiken to visit Mom and Lynne, and we were lucky enough to have Bennett Tucker take us on a Gator Tour of the woods. We saw a lot of the places I remember wandering as a child. We saw the work that you had done during your time on the board for the foundation. We got to see the work that Bennett and his team have done to preserve the woods and to make the woods a habitat for the red cockaded woodpeckers. We visited the site of the Inclined Plane1 railroad system for the SCCRC, on the path now called the “Devil’s Backbone” (which is a nickname for Inclined Plane railways).

Of course, we stopped at “Peter’s Point” to spend a few minutes remembering you and your passion for the woods. I am so glad that you have a place there marked for you. I know that you were not into riding horses and would always rather be on a boat somewhere, but you certainly found a new passion in the woods and, as with everything, you embraced it and you made a difference to it. You always had a way of knowing what was profoundly important to you,

As I spoke to Mom this morning (yep, I still call her every morning) we chatted about your drafting table down in your office, and your love of wood burning fireplaces, and we eventually ended up talking about computers. This led us to the “event” of Christmas morning, 1977. I am sure you remember the day. Mom purchased a Radio Shack TRS-80 computer to give to you as your “gift from Santa.” Unfortunately, when we walked into the den that morning and I saw the computer sitting under the tree, I just assumed that it had to be for me and I ran over and plopped down in front of it. Mom told me (much later in life) that she pulled you aside and whispered that it was your present, not mine. Apparently, you were not too bothered by that, or (if you were) you kept it to yourself.

By the end of the morning, I had written my first “program” (OK, it wasn’t anything other than a bunch of PRINTF statements that scrolled a racetrack made of asterisks up the screen). We joked about that day many times later in life, but the truth is that your unselfish act of sharing your present with me set the course of my life and gave me one of my three biggest passions and, more importantly, the passion that allows me to provide for my family.

I am sure I thanked you several times for that day, and for all your life lessons, but I’d like to thank you one more time. You are my hero, and I love you.

-Geoff

  1. see this article (pg 19) for details: https://www.hitchcockwoods.org/articles/railroad-tracks-belonging-to-the-south-carolina-canal-and-railroad-company-c-1839-1852/
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