Memories from Father Goose

Published 06/21/2015

James William Martens 1938-2009

Everyone has a dad. I’d like to think that most memories are good and made an impact on who you are collectively with your mom and life experiences. “Dad” symbolizes many great memories for me fro m the age of 5 until 47 when he passed away.

He used to pick me up for weekends in his red sleek Triumph after he divorced my mom. As the oldest of 4 children, I was lucky and grateful to be singled out to do road trips with Dad. A fond memory was going to the Wax Museum and then a book store. Books have always been my hobby, because you can disappear from reality for a period of time and be whoever you want to be. My favorite book Dad bought me was Mother Goose. It was about the size of a picture 8 ½ by 10 with black and white checks on cover. I read that book over and over with all the Nursery Rhymes stuck in my head forever.

Why Mother Goose? Thinking about it makes me feel secure and loved. Who doesn’t love the Nursery Rhymes as a young child? I loved that book!

My mom was the caretaker of my brother and sisters, but it was more of a duty that she begrudged. Dad was happy to be with us- kind of like Father Goose with his arms extended.. Geese always stick together, changing formation to care for the team. That was Dad. He later re-married (Jean) and we have 2 step sisters. The 6 kids, Dad, and Jean would go camping at Yosemite, drive-in movies (101 Dalmations), Disneyland, or church together. It wasn’t all adventures and fun, but a mix of stern discipline, wisdom, and advice.

After I graduated from college, I moved in with Dad and Jean. We had a standing Monday night football date. I learned about Wine, Kahlua, trees, and the outdoors. He purchased a cabin in Colorado and many weeks were spent alone with dad in the remote community of White Pine, 11,000 feet high just absorbing nature, singing about Rainbow Stew, and drinking wine.

I moved to Texas in 1982 at the age of 23, because I could. Dad not only approved, but understood my need to discover new adventures, and branch out. I married in 1984 and took trips twice yearly to just be with Dad. We talked, drank wine, and hiked. Most of all he was there for me. Dad even watched me run my first marathon on my 37th birthday in Houston. My husband did not think I could /should run, but Dad was the motivating factor. He was so proud! I even came within 10 minutes of qualifying for Boston!

After my divorce in 1996, he was compassionate and encouraging. My kids and I continued to go to White Pine and celebrate New Year’s Eve watching the fireworks go off Pike’s Peak. Dad even motivated me to participate in the Garden of the God’s 7 mile Race. With motivation you can do anything!

I met my future husband, Jeff, and was very excited to introduce him to Dad. Dad loved Jeff, loved the fact that he would care for me, and that he was a firefighter. He was ready to pass the baton of caring to Jeff. We married in 1999 and Dad gave me away at the wedding. I still remember him talking to me briefly alone 5 minutes before the wedding. He was so proud and excited!

My dad was my best friend, Father Goose, and Dad until he passed away of Congestive Heart Failure in 2006. My memories are still alive and I know he is still there for me as my Father Goose. I raise my merlot to you as I hear the lyrics of Merle Haggard stirring that Rainbow Stew!

I love you, Dad!

Dedicated to James William Martens 1938-2006

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