An Appeal

An Appeal November 1, 2011


My Dad appears to be dying. And I’m pretty much broke.

He lives in a little town in California; I live in a little town in upstate New York.

I haven’t been in very close contact with him the last few years, but it hasn’t been all my doing. The rough-barked cowboy bastard had his phone switched off a year or so back, and his lifelong habit is to never return letters or calls, so most of our contact has been one-way, through the mail. I set him up an email account about a year back, and wrote him the details of how easy it was to use, and where he could access it – the local library, which is on his way to town. His response: “I don’t do computers.”

So, uh, I’m going to ask for donations, so I can maybe get there to see him. Okay? Crap, I hate this.

Anyway, I should tell you about him. He’s not my father, but he is my Dad. I met him when I was about 21, and we’ve been close and closer and far and farther – kind of a sine wave of family connectedness – in the going-on-40 years since. Family connectedness of a sort that I never enjoyed with my “real” father, or my stepfather. I called him Old Ranger, or Old Man; neither of us were comfortable with me saying “Dad” right out in the open air, but it was how I always thought of him.

Below is a three-parter (written a while back) that says something about what it’s all been like. Just recently, we’ve been closer than the ending of this piece suggests. I’ve talked to him a few times on his friend’s cellphone, and he actually thanked me for calling – he was genuinely glad to hear from me.

Part 1Part 2Part 3Donation Request

And damn, I’ve missed him. He’s a true mountain man, a man with the bark on, and it was always hard to be close to him, but I think both of us knew how much we cared.

Dammit, I thought there would be more time. I kinda always expected he’d be THERE somehow, and anything broken between us could be fixed.

I want to see him this one last time.

I know there are plenty of people all over in worse situations than me, and we all donate to causes nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you have a few dollars you’d like to contribute to THIS small cause, click the button:

[Donate button removed; read addendum below]

I really appreciate it, and I’ll keep you posted over the next several days on what happens.


I took out the donate button after getting enough to make the trip. The generosity of the FTB community has been overwhelming — thank you all for the kind words, well wishes, and donations! Special thanks to Greta Christina and PZ Myers for telling their readership about this post.

I have a flight to Los Angeles at 5:30 a.m. I’ll drive from there to the Eastern Sierra, where my Dad lives. I don’t know how many days I’ll be there. I’ll keep you all informed as much as I can while away, but I’ll be on borrowed (or library) computers, so updates may be erratic.

"Best to you, Mr. Fox, and for your efforts."

Goodbye Patheos—Hank Fox Bows Out
"All the best, Hank! Your thoughts and words have always given me something to ponder."

Goodbye Patheos—Hank Fox Bows Out

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