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SODAKer

what would you do different

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3dogs

Drank less in my younger years.  Thereby, opening more time for hunting and spending time with my Dad.  We had a great relationship but wish for more now that he is gone.  

Maybe taken a year or two to travel, bum, or do the Peace Corps  before jumping into the career.

Not letting a buddy talk me out of Chessie for my first dog. Wound up with a golden that is dumber than a box of hammers.

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Hunshatt
 Tim I ran in to  Joe Dahl a week ago at a rest area off the interstate. What ever your thinking your wrong. A

uhhhhhhhhhhh......... never mind..... I kinda like the old rules better......don't ask, don't tell..... this new openness kinda makes me un comfortable

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Wingman

Considering telling your father [or insert other relative] you love them...

When I was in college some of my friends would complain about their parents. My advice to them was that, look, you start out as a little kid and your parents are everything and know everything. Now you're not a little kid and it's clear to you they don't know everything and and they aren't gods. What you need to do is treat them as people, actual human beings. They won't be perfect, but you might like them.

Then I met some of their parents, who in fact, I realized after careful deliberation, were sonsabitches. There are very few nouns in English that stay in the language for no good reason, and some of these people where the reason that noun is in the language.

However, it was more than a quarter century later that I wrote a letter to my father for Father's Day about raising my own son and how important and useful it was to have been raised by my father.

There'd really have been no way either of us could have tolerated having such things said in face-to-face conversation. Too weird and embarrassing.

I spoke to him on that Father's Day by phone and he said, "Got your letter. Thanks."

I said, "Yep. It's the truth, I think."

Then we talked about irrigating the ranch and the progress of the hay crop. Neither of us have mentioned the letter again. But I'd be surprised if whoever outlives him won't find that letter amongst his papers.

I'd say that for anyone who is in such a situation, not figuring out some way of saying it would be something you'd truly regret.

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Greg Hartman

At nearly 66, I would change pretty much anything and everything that would keep me from ending up where I am now.  I used to see a fit, outdoorsy-looking older man pushing a cursing, loudly abusive old woman in a wheelchair and wonder what that guy had done to be so terribly punished for the rest of his life, but I had no understanding of the full extent of hell such people endure every day, all day, forever.

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't spend 40 years moving mountains of paper under great stress in order to provide a great lifestyle for my dependents in the name of duty and responsibility, while putting off doing the things that were important to me in hopes of someday being able to do them.  I'd do something with my hands that I enjoyed regardless of the money it produced, like engraving, gun making, sculpture or art photography; and I'd do the things I wanted to do and go the places I wanted to go right then and there instead of waiting - and to hell with anyone who didn't like it.

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Mike Krol
My Dad left my Mom when I was 14; I had a hard time getting along with him for much of my life, but I finally forgave him for not being a father when I was about 50. We now have a wonderful relationship, and I'll tell you, there's not a time when we talk or are together when we don't end the conversation with "I love you, Dad... I love you too, son".  Forgiveness is one of God's greatest gifts to us... I wish I had forgiven long ago, but am so very grateful for where we are today.

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Larry Brown

Couple of things I would have done differently:

1.  Started making the annual early trip to either SD or ND for prairie grouse sooner.  One day drive from where I lived in IA.  But I was lucky with pheasants.  No need to go either place for those.  At least not until recently.

2.  Skipped wife #2.  Falling in love in France can be easy, and can have bad results.

Otherwise . . . the smartest thing I ever did was enlist in the National Guard when I was 17 and stick it out for 30 years.  The CIA experience was neat too.  There are several "roads not taken" in my life, and I often wonder what would have happened had I gone back to work for CIA when they offered me a job and a promotion (Reagan rebuilding the place) a decade after I'd left.  Likewise, wonder what would have happened when, after I lost my first college teaching job, I'd gone ahead and finished my PhD rather than returning to HS teaching.  But the teaching stuff was pretty good too--college better than HS (schedule more amenable to hunting).  And outdoor writing has led me to places, people, and experiences I would not otherwise have had.  

I'm not sufficiently conceited to say that I've had a successful life for which I worked hard and deserved.  Rather, I think I'm perceptive enough to realize I've had a very lucky life.

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ANF grousin
I'd be a bum.  Welfare, section 8 housing, food stamps.  Why work when you can hunt and fish all day.  I'd make sure I moved someplace with great local hunting since I wouldnt have a lot of gas money for distant travel.

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braque du upstate
" fat,drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son"  wish i invested a bit more on education and general wellness.

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Wisconsin
what would you do different based on what you have learned/experienced throughout your life?

I would have taken better notes - otherwise, wouldn't change a thing.

Ken

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Don Steese

I wish I had pressed my mom to tell me about my dad. In reality I'm not even sure who he was. She mentioned someone a few times but I'm not sure if he was really the one or not. Whoever he was I never met him and when I was younger and mom was still alive I didn't seem to care enough to ask a lot of questions. Now I wish I would have. I guess when you get old you start caring about those things.

I wish I'd taken life a bit more seriously and been a better husband and father. I worked a lot, and hunted and fished more than I had a right to. I'm trying to make up for that now by being a super grandpa, but I don't know if it really squares things up. I was always nice to my dogs though and I guess that has to count for something. Heck, I was even nice to other people's dogs.

I wish I had gone to college.

I also wish I'd have invested the dough from the sale of my business somewhere where it would have been more immune to the effects of the economic downturn of 2008, but who knew??

Don't think I'd change a thing about how I earned my living.  Where I worked was warm in the winter, had air conditioning in the summer and there was no heavy lifting. I had great employees who gave me more loyalty than I probably deserved and even wished me well when I sold the business. I'm still friends with all of them.  What more could anybody ask for on a professional level ??

Don't think I'd change much about the people that have I've become friends with along the way either, they've all been really great folks, including some bird hunting bums I met here on the UJ. I wouldn't trade any of them for anything.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!

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SydneyWI
I sometimes wish I had been born rich instead of so damn attractive.

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Brad Eden
Sometimes relationships with fathers or even mothers are irreparable. Mine is simply in suspended animation with my father. There is nothing there. You would have to have walked in my shoes to understand. There will be no late life, I love yous or bedside crying. That's the way it is with some relationships, even important ones no matter how TV dramas end.

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pa'tridge hunters
Would I like to be 28 again? Sure, but that isn't going to happen. Would I like to have millions in the bank? Sure, but that's not going to happen either. Have I made mistakes in my life? Sure have, but I hope I've learned a lesson from each one, (usually and expensive lesson), and I'm a better person for it. You are where you are in life because of your past life. If you changed one thing in it you would alter your life. If I hadn't picked up a dog at the Pound in Centerville Mass. in 1980, I never would have met Cindy at Obediance School a couple of weeks later.

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john mcg

Change anything? I can't say. I'm not smart enough to sort that one out. Regrets? Yes, I have many of them, but that thinking in my mind is futile and self-indulgent. Oh, believe me, I do fall into that kind of frame of mind but I don't see the universe that way, so I believe its a foolish exercise. I'm foolish.

If I could say one thing it would be to have known wisdom when I was a very young father and husband.

I have profound sadness about many things, but such is life in this world. There is also much brightness.

You fellas that have known a father--I envy you. You may or may not know how fortunate you are.

I believe that there is a reason/plan for everything and one day I'll fully understand and on that day there will be no more tears and no more sorrow. I watch and wait for that day.

In the meantime keeping an eye out for brightness.

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Greybeard
I regret getting divorced!

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