My father, Harold Hauck, passed away in 2009 from a robust, world traveling man to one, only one year later, who succumbed to the ravages of a severe stroke and treatment for esophageal cancer. It was not a pretty ending to an outstanding life of love, service to others and just plain fun. Death and dying is so hard and in my opinion needs to be made easier but that is for another blog. After his death, we all gathered in Wichita, Kansas, for his service the day prior to the funeral. A spring storm kicked up over the prairie and over six inches of rain fell in a very short period of time washing out portions of I-35 between Topeka and Wichita and jeopardized if guests could arrive from the east. Mother nature was agreeing with our supreme sadness that day and for days to come.
The day of the service was one of those perfect spring days, after the gully washer, with the sky as blue as topaz and air fresh and cool on our necks and upper arms. My oldest brother, Mike, my niece, Katie, and nephew Chris and our oldest daughter, C1, spoke at his service. Each one did a yeoman’s job as for me the thought of speaking out loud about my love for my dad was just too much. It was great tribute to him and to our family but I remember one of my favorite stories was the one shared by my brother, Mike, about our dad.
HH was tall and had a good wing span. His favorite game to play with us Hauck kids was what he dubbed Iron Claw. He would sprawl out on the living room floor and extend his long arms as far as they could reach out onto the worn carpet in our rambling two-story home on Main Street. Hauck children, all four of us, would space ourselves out strategically around the floor around his lanky frame sitting just out of reach. Dad reclined on the floor with his eyes closed waiting for one of us to venture in to quickly tap his hand and then scoot back to safety. His job, as the iron claw, was to catch us in the claw (hand) and bring us into his lair. He was quick with the grasp and when caught you had to try to get away by prying his fingers off of your arm or leg, whichever appendage he had snagged. He would eventually release after much screaming and giggling. The game could go on for hours and it exhausted us all and kept us engaged in a “good activity” until dinner was ready or time for bath and bed.
So, today, love to all the father figures in your life and hope you make a memory today with your loved one because life, while sweet, is much too short. Peace. But look out for the Iron Claw!