My turn: Father known to embrace life

The last Father’s Day I visited my father was June 17, 1990. After a four-year battle with asbestosis — caused by being a steel-mill carpenter — he died 13 days later at 71.

While healthy, Guy Sloan embraced life.

For decades, he and buddies car-pooled 40 miles from Mt. Vernon to Lone Star Steel Company in east Texas.

During college, I worked at the steel mill for two summers (even picketing during a strike).

The trips were entertaining.

The men took turns topping each other’s tales about hunting, fishing, sports exploits of their children, and pansy college students quitting their first day because they couldn’t take the heat and hard work.

No doubt, my dad — nicknamed “Rocket” by co-workers because of his fearlessness in climbing tall towers — was relieved that I stuck it out.

Father of six, Guy was a practical joker. Once when friends and I were camping in our barn, he scared us by howling like a wolf.

Although farm work prevented him from attending high school, he was a quiet but masterful story-teller.

During the Depression, Guy and his brother — both faster than lightning — hopped a boxcar. When it stopped and a guard walked by, they dove under piles of shipping paper.

“That was close,” my dad whispered. Out of nowhere, a hobo ruffled up through the papers and replied, “It sure was!”