Rest in Peace, Dialup Dad

Leo the Lions Club lion at Viking Fest in Poulsbo
  • Leo the Lions Club lion at Viking Fest in Poulsbo

I’ve just returned from my Dad’s funeral. He turned 95 two weeks before, after celebrating his 73rd wedding anniversary with Mom in August. The only serious illness he’d had in his life was the mild heart attack that hit him a month before he died. Four years ago, I began saving Dad’s emails, 323 in all. He didn’t own a computer, instead relying on WebTV’s glacially slow dialup connection to send and receive messages. This presented a never-ending string of technical challenges for him. His emails invariably began with “Howdie” and were mostly responses to my blog posts and newspaper columns — which I called my daily rants — as well as updates on his favorite sports teams and reviews of the books he was reading. Mom’s began with “Hi” and chronicled the happenings of the day.

May 15, 2010

From Mom

Hi: It’s “Viking Fest” in Poulsbo. We’ll go for Breakfast tomorrow at the Armory, sponsored by the Lions club. It’s fun to see all the OLD LIONS. Dad used to be one of them. In fact, one year he was KING LION.

July 9, 2010

Howdie: Did you receive Mom’s message about our dinner and waltz during the Lawrence Welk program? Her “Three little boys” were the only thing missing from our evening with Lawrence Welk!

Sep 13, 2010

Howdie: This has been an exciting weekend in Seattle. The Huskies beat Syracuse big time and the Seahawks thoroughly beat San Francisco. On Friday morning Mom had symptoms like a heart attack. They whisked her off to the hospital.

Oct 19, 2010

Howdie: Us “Ancients” from North Dakota are still low on the learning curve. You mention “Kindles.” Explain, please!

Oct 21, 2010

From Mom

Hi: In my last e-mail I wrote, “I best go see what Dad was doing under the Sink in the Kitchen.” Well, the plumber arrived a couple hours later and put everything back in order.

Feb 18, 2011

From Mom

Hi: The guy just left who had to come to fix our Toilet. Dad tried to fix it, but it wouldn’t stop leaking because one of the parts (Dad put it there) was supposed to be outside the tank instead of inside the tank.

August 26, 2011

We just received your message in address only----there must have been a glitch, gel (the German word for the Canadian expression, “Eh”)?

Dec. 17, 2011: [In response to a Christmas gift we sent to them, using the Amazon address to Dad.]

I feel bad because it was addressed to me only. We both feel bad because it looks as tho it doesn’t include the other person. We never do anything on our own unless the other person is included. Perhaps there was an error so please give us a report.

December 18, 2011

Thank you for your prompt reply. Our official address is: Gene and Rose Riehl. We are so happy that the matter is now settled.

Nov. 15, 2012: [In response to our concerns about his driving.]

Howdie: We now only drive to church and the grocery stores which is less than a mile away. Mother is always in the car doing vigilant duties. In nice weather we walk to the church or don’t go at all when the weather is bad. Thank you for your concern. We’ll keep you informed if we have any problems.

July 15, 2013

Howdie: We finally were able to bring up your picture. Mom insisted it was a picture of me. It proves the truth of an old saying, “You can’t tell the difference between an old stud and a young one.”

Nov. 15, 2013, a year ago to the day of his funeral.

I now found a way to roll the text up and down, so please send me a new copy of your rant!

Rest in peace, my Dialup Dad. May all your heavenly emails fly without a glitch, gel?

[Post edited for length]

Title: http://theriehlwo...">The Riehl World | Post Title: Rest in Peace, Dialup Dad | Post Date: November 16, 2014Author: Richard Riehl | From: Carlsbad | Blogging since: 2011

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