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Remembering Dad

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The chemotherapy caused his death. I was sure of it. One day we were talking normally in the hospital, and the next day, after the treatment, he couldn’t even speak. He seemed scared and lost. Then the doctors decided to send him home to die. And he did.

RIP Ray Edward “Dink” Hendrick Jr. Born August 18, 1931, in Shamrock, Texas. Died January 24, 1990, in Wheeler, Texas. Both are in Wheeler County. However, there were many miles and many places between the two events.

In thinking about events to share, I decided to cut the hundreds down to two. These were in the first five that popped into my head and seemed appropriate.

Scout Camping Trip

The Boy Scout week-long camping trip to New Mexico was a great example. The boys ranged from age 11 to about 17 at that time. I was the Scoutmaster, and my Dad and several other dads accompanied us on this memorable trip. We worked on many merit badges from cooking to wilderness survival. All the dads were great, but one story stands out in my brain.

We were cooking breakfast one morning and one of the younger boys, on his first trip, was horseplaying around the fire. All was fine until he kicked up dirt into the cooking food. Dad quickly made it known that horseplay was fine, but not around the food. He made sure the boy got the message and as a result, the running and jumping around took place far away from the food after that.

My First Hunting Trip

Hunting was one of Dad’s passions, especially quail. I remember my first time hunting with him.

The car was loaded, and we were heading from Spearman, Texas to Wheeler County. I was about twelve at the time. Leaving the house, Dad drove through downtown and pulled in at the Western Auto store and went in by himself.

When he came out, he was carrying a long, narrow box. Getting into the car, he handed me the box and said, “Don’t mess with it now. We’ll go over what you need to know when we get to Shamrock. In the box was a Springfield Model 18 410 shotgun. It was a beauty with a bolt action and perfectly sized for a twelve-year-old boy. I was in heaven.

Gun and hunting safety was first and foremost with Dad, and I learned from him. I don’t remember if I shot any birds that first trip, but I had a great time with Dad in the field that weekend.

Finishing Up

Then there was the trip in the big truck and trailer full of equipment. It was the summer of 1961, and Dad invited me to go along. The story revolves around me, refusing to eat anything but pancakes and hamburgers.

And the time he bought me a set of junior golf clubs and asked me to play with him on a real golf course.

And the baseball saga, or skateboard crashes, and the time my bicycle handlebars came off mid-jump and Dad welded the pieces back together. 

I could tell dozens of more stories about him that shaped my life, but I will refrain for now.