I didn't start this book until my father was 85 years old. At that point he was a recent widower recovering from a complicated knee replacement surgery. To distract him from agony, I began asking questions about his past. Of course, as his daughter, I had not only heard many of those memories, but shared them with him as well. As a writer, it didn't take me long to recognize a good story, so I grabbed a notebook and began taking notes while he reminisced. In the next four years I had the opportunity to be with him often. While I continued to gather information for the book, I didn't actually begin writing the book until he was 89. At that point, dementia had robbed some of his memory. His last sibling had been gone for about six years, so getting first hand information wasn't always possible. I never met anyone who didn't like Dad. He made a positive impression wherever he went. His ever-present sense of humor, sunny smile and twinkling eyes made him memorable. He was always willing to share a good story or an experience. He didn't embellish. Dad often saw things from a unique perspective, but his honesty and integrity were never in question. Because he shared so generously, there were many people who were able to provide useful information for this book. I have always found older people interesting and my father was no exception. As I worked with the information I had gathered, it occurred to me that his numerous accomplishments had rarely been documented. Dad didn't boast and his writing skills were rudimentary. Until I wrote this book, his contributions to the world were mostly encapsulated in the minds of those who knew him best. His legacy was mostly inspiration. While I was well aware of how he impacted my life, it wasn't until after his death that I learned he had been a role model for many young people. This book is a tribute to Charles Allen Mecham, but it is also a reminder that, though events of our lives may shape who we become, how we react to those events will compose the legacy we will leave for others. In addition to being a warm, loving person, Dad was a WWII veteran who saw more action than he wanted to talk about. He was remarkably creative, with an unusual aptitude for mechanics. He was easily hurt and equally willing to forgive. He was a role model to some, an icon to others and a father to more than his children. He was a faithful husband and a proud father. He was also human, and therefore fallible. Not all of his decisions were wise, and they weren't always driven by his best interest for others. Overall, though, he was a kind and just person who tried to do the right thing. He accomplished that goal more frequently than the average person, I think.
Linda L. Mecham-Rigsbee, daughter & author
LEGACY Of A Griffin
by Linda L. Rigsbee
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