Thursday, February 19, 2009


**Note: This is a little rambling and I apologize if it is not entertaining. These are my thoughts.

Last Thursday was just your ordinary, run of the mill day. The actual date was February 12, 2009. Most likely it was just a regular day and pretty uneventful. For most people I observed it was like any other Thursday.
I got the opportunity to do a lot of observing that day as I traveled through airports on my way to a much needed vacation in Las Vegas.
However, this was no ordinary Thursday to me.
February 12 is not a regular day to me.
It is a day that comes once a year as a reminder of how quickly things can change, and how much things can change, in the blink of an eye.
February 12, 1988 was just like any other day for me. I was your typical small town 7 year old living the dream. I was in second grade and lived in a little town in Northwest Iowa. My days consisted of school, playing outside with friends and spending time with my parents. On this particular day I even had a Cub Scout meeting. My job at the meeting was to provide treats. Since I couldn't take the treats to school my dad was supposed to be dropping them off for me to share.
Well, the treats never came. Not a big deal to a seven year old. Life will go on. My Cub Scout meeting ended and I headed home. Distracted by the group of friends playing outside my house I quickly dumped all of my belongings inside the front door and began to run wild through the neighborhood waiting for mom and dad to come home, very typical of my childhood days.
At this time my dad was employed by the city of Inwood as the city maintenance man and was in charge of making sure everything was running smoothly. He was in charge of the snow removal, water and sewer systems and just about anything that keeps a town physically running.
After playing with friends for a while I was approached by a lady from City Hall. It seems they had been trying to get in touch with my dad for quite a while that day and the last they had heard he was headed to the "lagoon". In my mind the "lagoon" was a restaurant in another town and he was just talking with friends and would be back soon. Little did I know that the lagoon was actually a place where my dad and his partner checked on sewer type things for their jobs.
I told the lady I hadn't seen my dad but would tell my mom she was looking for him when she returned from work.
By the time my mom got home from work there was apparently a lot of action at the lagoon and it wasn't good. Our pastor met my mom and I on the street and informed my mom of the situation. I was too young at the time to totally understand what was happening but from retellings and years of hearing the story I have pieced it all together.
From what I understand now my father and his partner were working at the lagoon. By the way things appear, my dad's partner went into the hole to check on some numbers and was immediately asphyxiated from an unnoticeable gas. My dad realized that something wasn't right and went down to get him and was also asphyxiated. My father's body shut down so quickly that a cut on his head never even had a chance to bleed.
My dad and his partner were found some time later in the day laying at the bottom of the lagoon. This is the day that my life changed in the blink of an eye.
Like I mentioned earlier I was only seven so the complexity of the situation didn't really set in, and wouldn't until I was in my early teens. However, I could tell that what was happening was a big deal and was upsetting my mother.
The loss of a loved one is hard for anyone. Expected or unexpected it is still a traumatic event and not something that most people enjoy.

I can tell you that I am no different. It sucks!! Sorry for the choice of words but it does.

For as many positives that have come out of this horrible situation it is still something that seems to haunt a person on a regular basis. I drive by my dad every time time I go home to visit my mom and step dad.
I leave a quarter on his grave each and every time I visit him. I am not sure why I do but for some reason the quarter is gone every time I go back. I believe he has something to do with where it is going. Whether he is actually taking it or has little pets running up and taking them away.
Not having my dad here to talk to in person is hard. I have forgotten what his voice sounds like and that hurts. I don't have a video to go back to or a recording of his voice to play back.
But that void has been filled, to some extent, with a step dad that has done everything right and has taken me in as his own. For that I am forever grateful.
My first born son bears the name of my father as his middle name, Larry. He knows that Grandpa Larry is up in Heaven with Jesus and that he only needs to look out our front door at night and find "their star".
My wife's father is the man that would eventually take my dad's position for the city. He was also one of the first responders on the day my dad passed away. In such a large world I ended up marrying a girl that cried the day she saw the filled out application sitting on her table. She was afraid of her dad's fate, knowing what had happened to mine. Small world.
This may have gone in about thirty different directions but I don't mind. I didn't know where I was going when I started but I needed to write about my dad.
He was the proudest grandpa in the world.
He was the the happiest he had ever been.
He was just shy of a year sober and loving a new life.
He never hurt a fly, even mowed around the baby bunnies in out field at the park.
He loved his wife, kids and everyone he ever met.
He was my dad.
I miss him.
I want my sons to know him, and I am doing the best I can to show them who he is and was.
We will continue to talk to him and I will continue to try to make him proud.
He is remembered forever by the necklace I wear and his signature on my back.
He is with me always and I can't wait to be with him someday.
Love you Dad.


  1. A beautiful tribute...thank you for the reminder to cherish our loved ones as long as we can...

  2. Jon, This is an incredible tribute to a wonderful man. I have visited your father's grave before -- but I never had a chance to meet him. I get to thinking about how young you were. Lydia is seven. Hard to imagine how you processed any of what was going on around you. But you've grown into a man that Larry Peters would be very, very proud of. ... I can't wait to meet him someday.
    Jon -- a song just now comes to mind. Finally Home by MercyMe. I think they will touch your heart.

  3. Jon~As your sister I share your pain and loss! Thankfully we together can see the blessings that come from these situations too! It took me years to feel blessed by this traumatic event but God has been faithful and has healed my broken heart! It still aches at times but the God I knew back then is not the God I know today and for that I am thankful! At that time in my life I had not accepted that everything happens for a reason and that God was in control and it was His plan. "His plan" sucked back then because I didn't know back then what I know today! Today I can see how things work together for good for those that love the Lord! I hold on tight to a man who loved his family~loved his sobriety~sang 'How Great Thou Art" so loud that people stared~spit shined his black shoes~had a hard shell and the biggest marshmallow heart you've ever seen~and most importantly came to know Jesus through his last nine months of his life here on earth!!!! I to can't wait to see him again and he definetly will be first on my "heaven list!" Love you baby brother, Sissy

  4. Oh Jon, This post is just beautiful. I know Larry was so proud of you kids and really loved your Mom. He was always so kind to me when I stopped by CONSTANTLY! I am happy you have wonderful memories and the knowledge of the promise that you will see him again one day. Love, Carol

  5. Jon, thanks for sharing this story; having lived in your hometown for almost 14 years now I've heard the story and know it well. I'm just sorry that it's your story...

  6. I am without speech, my friend. A beautiful post. I pray for continued grace, peace, mercy and love as you share him with your sons and remember his love for you and your family.