Below is the speech I gave at my fathers memorial. Some cried, many laughed, but most importantly people remembered him. Some enjoyed the speech while others pulled me aside to tell me about how the words I used were not appropriate in a church. I didn't care. What I cared about was the honesty within my speech. Who he was as a person, and most importantly, if he would have laughed had he been alive to hear it. For that, I am proud of the speech I gave, despite having loved ones tell me they were proud of me for getting up on stage in front of all these people, then to rescind their pride after hearing it. Below are the words. 

I think the last time most of you saw me, I still had hair. But given the time from my long blond curly hair to now, I appreciate you all coming out today. Rest assured that even at the ripe young age of 58, my dad still had more hair than I do today. Mind you a lot of it is on his face. My whole life I knew my father to always have facial hair. Sometimes a beard but always a mustache. Except for one time the day before I was to leave for China, he came out of the bathroom after an accident shaving where he had a beard but no mustache. So, I giggled and thought he looked like a fat Genghis Khan. My entire trip to Asia for that year was giggled upon as everywhere I went I pictured my dad as a mustache-less dictator.

So, he always had facial hair of some kind, and for any of you poor souls that had seen my father with his shirt off, know most of his hair lay on his body. Now I am bringing that up as I couldn’t go through today without sharing the story of the first girlfriend I brought home. I was 15 or 16 and for some reason I had forgotten my house key or didn’t have one. It was about 930 or 10 at night and when you ring the door bell at the Jansen house at that hour, there is no way in hell my mother will go about opening the door. So my father was coursed into opening the door. Upset as I either pulled him away from extended football highlights or he was in bed. So he opens the door and looks at me angrily, then glances over to my girlfriend, Kendal, when I noticed the look on his face ease slightly. I look over to my girlfriend and notice her face go from excitement and joy to utter abject terror.

My father opened the door wearing nothing but boxers. But not just any boxers, boxers with holes in extremely inappropriate places, skin tight, with big awkward bleach spots all mixed in. Giggling, I look to my father and say Dad, this is my girlfriend Kendal, look over to my girlfriend, Kendal this is my father. She resistantly stuck her hand out to greet my father. And as many of you can guess what my father did next, he went and hugged her……..and I never saw her again.

So I knew shortly after that experience that if a girl couldn’t pass the perverted dad hug than she probably wasn’t worth keeping around. I told my current girlfriend that story who hadn’t met my father and she bursted out laughing so I’d like to think that my dad would have approved.

But I am grateful that my mother wanted this to be a celebration of his life more than a memorial or whatever else this could have been. Because that is what he would have wanted. My dad wasn’t a very angry person. He may have gotten mad at the fact that his Miami Dolphins football team were in last place again or if a democrat was elected president, but he didn’t let it affect him for long periods of time. Even when he got mad at us as kids, he would punish and spank us, yet five minutes later we would be walking up the street to 711 together to get a slurpee.

He also wasn’t a sad person. I could count on one hand how many times I saw him cry in 33 years of my life. The last real time was in this dang building when my grandfather, his father passed away. Most of the time he is crying from laughter, usually from the fact that he could clear his entire family from a large open spaced living room from the stench of a fart that he made. In fact, if you either hadn’t heard my father fart or hear him joking or talking about farting, I am uncertain you really knew who my father was. Any person staying at my parent’s house in Montana knew when my dad entered the toilet. The percussions coming out of that porcelain makes any instrument played during Sunday chapel in this church seem mute. I made the fatal mistake of introducing my father to the game of baseball. You fart once you get on first base, twice gets you to second base, where four in a row gets you a point. But if an opponent farts, say like myself or my brother Matthew, you lose a base. Lets just go ahead be clear about who usually won. That is until my brother chimed in after a work out or a green smoothie. And don’t think for a second that mom and Emily played no parts in this game, they were pinch hitters.

Farting and pooping were such a monumental role in my dad’s life that it migrated to a profession. It was no secret that he left the family business of Jansen supply and moved to Montana. When he got there he didn’t care what he did for work, as long as he stayed in Montana. He bounced from construction to sales where eventually landed a job at Lowes that he kept. He started off on the floor covering the whole store until he found his stride in the plumbing department. Of course it was the plumbing department. So from there he began climbing the ladder to where eventually he became the head of the plumbing department. But my dad being dad, the head of the plumbing department wasn’t going to work as his title, so instead he aptly called himself the, “Master Shitter.“ Ya ya forgive me father for I have sinned. Blah blah blah. Oh, and don’t think for a second that I am the only child coming up here to talk about fart stories. If the stench from these stories is getting to you now, you had better leave the building.

Though farting constituted most of his laughter and thought processes of life, his second favorite topic of discussion was usually what caused farting, food. But not just any particular food, beans usually. His beans were legendary as they either were too hot to where they could even be enjoyed or they simply were your express ticket to the bathroom to relieve yourself. Either way they were going to epic and any one who got to enjoy these beans knows what I speak of. He even won a competition in Montana from his beans. The other food item he cherished were steaks. I am going to miss those things. His motto with steak is if it is still mooing it is almost done. He would text me when at school and say stuff like beans and steak are done with a picture of a pile of heart stopping, diarrhea ensuing goodness, which if anyone followed my father on Instagram knows of what I speak. Usually a pile of food with words not only grammatically incorrect but also misspelled. He couldn’t spell worth a damn which is hilarious as I would catch him doing crossword puzzles, in pen, and see him get frustrated at why he couldn’t finish them. Well dad its because you spelled beans are done, spelling done DUN.

Well, I have mentioned food and farting, and family seems to get all mixed into that, but if there was one thing my dad and I bonded over together, was fishing. We could sit back and drink beers either before or after casts and talk about trips to far flung destinations to catch exotic fish species the world over. In fact almost every outing to a river or lake involved alcohol. We weren’t fishing if the cooler wasn’t stocked with beers or whiskey. In fact he came up to visit me in school in Northern California because I told him the steelhead were in, but what that really meant was he was coming up to party with my college buddies and go to house parties and bars with us. We had so much fun that I created Facebook photo albums titled blackout one and blackout two. We felt it was best for all parties involved that blackout three wasn’t created and to be fair it got to the point where I told my college buddies he was coming up and they began hiding from the hangovers that they knew were coming or the diarrhea from his beans.

Sadly the last year, my dad and I grew away from fishing together and that also meant weren’t drinking together any more either. I realized that the substance wasn’t healthy in my life anymore and decided to quit to continue my life. I feared this for the relationship change it will have on my father as I wasn’t sure he could ever, if he ever wanted to quit drinking. But a year went by with me being sober and I came by the house to visit. I was making tea in their kitchen when I noticed my dad secretly look out to my mom and brother sitting out on the outdoor patio. My sister wasn’t home. He peered to look as if he wanted to make sure they weren’t going to hear what he was going to say to me. He walked right up to me and asked how I quit drinking. I looked to him stunned in way asking why? I have been drinking for 30 years, I am over it.

I was blown away at the question and told him what worked for me. I left and continued my life at work and kept fishing, not for a second thinking he was serious. Little did I know that that was the last literal conversation I had with him before he got sick. But before his passing my mom reassured my thoughts as apparently in the hospital, he was asking nurses what a safe way was to quit drinking, and if that isn’t a good lasting memory of my father, I don’t know what is.

He left way too early obviously, but in 58 years of life, he not only lived each day with happiness, but fulfilled more in those years happily than most do in 80 years. And for that I can rest my head at night and be content with what has happened. Even though I can still hear his laughter at each fish I miss the strike on or watch him roll his hands over each other when he gets excited about food or rubs his belly at the thought of how good that last cooked steak was.

But seeing from this turn out, it is obvious he is going to stay with all of us from the impact he had on each one of us, and being up here seeing you all show up for this gives me inspiration to inspire others and fuel myself for the road ahead and the rest of the life I wash to have, aspiring to follow in his footsteps as much as I can. Thank you.