Vogt’s Notes: To my dad: Happy first heavenly Father’s Day

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Sunday is Father’s Day, my first one without my dad.

I won’t be writing a Facebook post to him. I won’t call and have him answer, “Hey, Scoop!” or “Hi, No. 1.” He started the first greeting when I became a reporter more than 30 years ago, and the second greeting refers to me being his firstborn. I won’t be buying a Father’s Day card or a gift for him.

My dad died in January, but I still want to wish him a happy Father’s Day and tell him what a wonderful dad I had for 55 years. He was always there for me and my sister with thoughtful advice that encouraged us to make our own decisions that he’d support.

As I tear up while writing this, I can hear his calm voice saying, “Take a deep breath,” which he always said when we were upset about something. That phrase never failed to elicit even more tears from us, but once we concentrated and actually took that deep breath, it did help.

I can still hear his famous answer when we’d ask how he knew something: “Dads know everything.”


I can still see his scrawled handwriting at the bottom of a grocery list, where he’d add, “Surprise for Dad.” And later, after becoming known as “Poppy” to our family and beyond thanks to his grandchildren: “Surprise for Poppy.”

And I can still hear that last voicemail he left me: “Either you’ve learned how to walk on water, or you’re ice fishing. I hope it’s the latter.” That took me a minute to figure out, but then I realized he’d tracked me on the Snapchat map and saw that I was in the middle of Sylvan Lake on a January weekend.

My dad was always calm, cool and collected. Even in death. He simply died in his sleep, saving us from worrying about him in a hospital or care facility. He didn’t suffer. He wasn’t in pain. He had health issues, but he still lived his life to the fullest til the end.

People associate happenings in life with a deceased loved one, and I discovered I’m no different. When I returned home a week after my dad died, I sailed through all the green lights on Highway 371 through Baxter. Not just that one time, but nearly every time for a while.

I know it’s coincidence, but I like to think it’s my dad looking after me.

Also shortly after returning home, the cuckoo clock that my parents bought in Germany and that’s now at my house started playing music again every half hour. The music started up again just as suddenly as it had stopped for seemingly no reason a while ago.

Again, it’s coincidence. But again, I think of my dad.

Comments on Facebook describe my dad so accurately: “What a great guy with a huge heart, warm hug and inviting smile.” “A genuine, kind and caring man.” “Such a kind and gentle man.” “A very kind man.” “A true gentleman.” “Genuine, thoughtful, caring.” “It’s obvious family meant everything to him.”


I’m so proud of my mom in all she’s learned and in the way she’s carried on in the last nearly five months. It hasn’t been easy after being with someone for nearly 56 years, especially given the state of our world today.

On my first Father’s Day without my dad, I still wish him a happy Father’s Day. And I’ll reflect on this thought I found somewhere along the way from David Kessler, author of “Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief:”

“You don’t have to experience grief, but you can only avoid it by avoiding love. Love and grief are inextricably intertwined.”

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Nancy Vogt - Vogt's Notes.jpg
Nancy Vogt, PineandLakes Echo Journal Editor

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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