Opinion & Editorial

Find me, where I have ‘Ben’ An introduction to Ben Gaiter at the end of his life

Hello Creswell and Southern Lane County. Martin Gaiter, aka Marti Gee, is here to discuss the things that make you go, ”Hmmm!?”
The first question you may have is, ”I just started to get used to Marti; where did he go?”
I have been on a journey.
But I have not been off to far away, distant and exotic places.
I have been with Ben.
Over the last few months, my father, Ben Gaiter, fell gravely ill; with his battle coming to an end officially at 8:26 a.m. on Monday, July 16. Apparently he passed away peacefully in his sleep.
I invite you to take a journey and celebrate what I know about the man I called, ”Dad.”
Should I start with all the historical data that most eulogies give? I say no.
I would instead like to tell you what my Dad meant to me.
Full disclosure: I am the youngest child.
The one thing I remember getting more of than anything from Dad growing up was an explanation as to why he needed to spank me. He would sit me down first and explain why I was getting the belt and how my error could have had the most negative consequences.
By the time he was halfway into his lecture, I felt guilty enough to give myself the belt. And by the time he was done, my attitude was, um. . . let’s just say, fully adjusted. Aka, ”Those tennis balls stuffed into bike wheels are not mine so leave them alone.”
What I never got to ask him was how he could catch me for the little stupid things (I mean, seriously, what 8-year-old plays tennis?) but totally miss the big things, like the model rocket I accidentally launched and wedged into the ceiling of my brother’s and my room.
In elementary school, he was my scoutmaster. I found out later in life he did that to spend more time with me after he and my mother divorced. He could have negotiated with me, so I would have known that I had to work twice as hard to earn my merit badges.
He gave me advice to ”Point my skis straight down hill and stay low” while earning my skiing merit badge.
”Um, Ben, you realize, that advice turned Martin into a small torpedo right?,” Uncle Lew said to Dad.
To my dad’s credit, I don’t remember him using the actual words ”SNOW PLOW,” because I was too busy screaming my head off flying down a hill at warp speed, hitting a trunk and ending up in a snow covered stream.
In high school, there were two football games he came across town to watch. One, where I rode the pine the whole game and second, where I got my first start and was immediately knocked out with a separated shoulder.
Each time he told me how proud of me he was.
He was equally supportive of me when he found out that I was going to be playing wide receiver and Flanker in the NCAA.
Okay, so what if it was only Division 3 ball? Prior to our nearly-perfect season we hadn’t had a winning season since World War 2.
But when I chose not to return to college in favor of joining the Air Force, he was equally as proud and supportive – even though he said he was disappointed that I would not be playing college ball because he told all his friends.
When I went through my first marital problems and failure, Dad did not tell me what to do. He told me what he wished he could have done differently in his own marriage to help me carefully decide what steps to take in relation to my toddler daughter. He helped me be an uncle and a father through all adversity. I know from family that he had his shortcomings, too.
Because of Dad, I know to keep positive and try to always give when and wherever possible.
The greatest compliment Dad gave me was last year when were on the phone. He told me that he was, ”So impressed with how I always tried to keep things positive no matter what, and always find a way to laugh and make others smile.”
I learned all that from Dad.
If I got into a cab in an area where Dad ran operations, and they got my name out of me. I would get to hear, ”Oh wait, you’re Ben Gaiter’s son? Let me tell you what he did for me, my family, a friend of mine.”
What I learned from my second set of siblings and nephews was that Papa was a man who loved Nana and her children, and I am as much of a brother without the ”step.”
Besides getting to spend a week with him before he left us, the next best memory I have is one my cousin Michelle told me about just last year at my Aunt Lorraine’s Birthday Party. My dad was getting up out of his wheelchair after a few rum and cokes to get down on the dance floor with his sister.
I am glad that my only daughter got to meet him. I do not mourn the loss of such a huge influence on my personality and spirit. I celebrate the thought of who this man was to me, and to so many people. I know he is up there goofing around with his siblings, spending most of his time eating crab legs with Nana and having a rum and coke or two to wash it down.
Thank you for taking this little journey with me. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did living it.
See you again next week.
Send questions and comments to The Creswell Chronicle Or find me on Facebook. For all things Business https://www.facebook.com/youcandoyou/. For relationships I have developed a forum for my Book and discussion on a Brand new relationship theory I created: https://www.facebook.com/choosemymovie/.



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos