Fly-in Fishing Adventure to Canada

dad-fly-inAs a claims adjuster, various law firms would wine-and-dine Dad along with other adjusters in order to get referrals from them when possible. One of the accepted perks was the flying-in-to-Canada fishing adventure which he really enjoyed.

On this particular trip Dad talked about a few things that were interesting and humorous:

  • The guide got lost one night trying to get back to the resort since the light had gone out at the dock and he didn’t know it (this was prior to the consumer rollout of GPS).
  • After catching their limit almost immediately one day, that evening the guide fried up some “overages” and you guessed it: a knock came at the door and it was a game warden who counted everything up and they were OK…because they’d already each eaten two fish. As Dad told me the story he seemed genuinely bothered to have been part of the exceeding of their limits.
  • I don’t recall the lake, but it was a two hour flight north of Winnipeg and he seemed very aware (and maybe a little agitated?) that they were literally in the middle of nowhere and the only way out was a single radio and a scheduled rendezvous with the plane you see in the photo above.

Dad was not an outdoorsman, but he sure loved to fish. If he’d taken me up there at some point I would have been a lot more interested in hiking and exploring than I would have fishing, but we both enjoyed being out of doors and on a lake.


Another shot of that fishing trip with the group’s haul of fish

Dad’s Portrait

Last weekend my sisters and I organized over 2,000 photos still in boxes we took from Dad’s house before the estate sale in June of 2013. Yep…we finally got around to it though the Photoshop adventure has just begun for me!

I’ll be posting more photos over the coming weeks.

In the meantime one of the photos discovered was this business portrait of Dad which I’d never seen. I thought I’d post it right away so people could see it.


The Big Trip – A Two Week Journey Around Deutschland

It was the summer of 1997, three years after my Mom had died and two years after the internet had moved out of academia and became available to anyone who wanted to use it.

My Dad and I went to Germany for two weeks in August and the trip was one of the most profound experiences of my life for two reasons:

    1. It was the only significant trip my Dad and I ever took together and he passed away in March of 2012. This trip was our only long ‘Dad & Son Adventure’ and the trip means more to me today than it ever has before, and the memories of it grow ever sweeter with the passage of time.
    2. I had my “big internet awakening” that set me on a path for the rest of my career and changed everything for me…and I’ve got Dad to thank for it.

Top: Bill Borsch
Bottom: Steve Borsch

Earlier in 1997, I’d proposed to my Dad that he and I go on a “Dad & Son Adventure” to Germany. Besides having fun together and taking his mind off of Mom’s passing, one goal was to find the little town of Mehren (here’s a map), since my great-great grandparents, Johann and Suzanna, had emigrated from there in 1854.

My Dad was very interested in discovering whatever we could about Johann and Susanna (Zapp) Borsch and we did (we found, and received copies of certificates of, Johann’s birth; Johann’s parent’s wedding; Johann and Susanna’s wedding; and more). We left the records office in a sort of stunned silence, both realizing what we’d received.

Turns out what we had discovered had a deeper meaning for Dad. He glanced over at me at dinner that evening and said, “We can go home now.

Oh no,” I thought. “Dad, are you sad or was this not a good thing or something?” He paused and with a growing grin on his face said, “No, this was exactly what I wanted to accomplish for this entire trip!” It was pretty clear that he was quite emotional about what we’d discovered, it hadn’t quite sunk in yet, and he was actually just delighted. Phew.


Johann Joseph Borsch birth certificate

Besides trying to find these genealogical gems and explore the town of Mehren, I just wanted a good experience with my Dad while exploring Germany overall and the trip was absolutely phenomenal. I am so glad I didn’t wait, which would have been easy to do since I was busy at the time, since if I’d put the trip off even one year it is likely we never would have taken it.

We did a complete circle tour of the country from Frankfurt to Berlin. Down the old East German side (only open then for 8 years after the Berlin Wall fell). We toured castles, churches, towns, museums, an automobile museum, and much more.

But my unexpected, big internet awakening was about to unfold and I had Dad to thank for it.

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The Milkman Prank

milk-wagonThis is one of Steve’s favorite stories from Dad’s childhood and he heard it for the first time less than a year ago…

Bill’s grandparents had a house at 4500 Garfield Avenue South in Minneapolis and had milk delivered. The milkman had a horse-drawn milk wagon he’d take down the alley for deliveries. He would drop a weight down from the horse’s harness so he could safely go in to the house without the horse taking off with the milk wagon.

As 7 or 8 year old boys Dad and his cousin, Gene Wachsmuth, would sneak up, lift up the weight, and walk the horse down to the next house and set the weight down. The milkman would walk out and see the horse down at the next house and have no idea what had happened. Dad and Gene thought it was hilarious that the milkman would stand there, scratching his head, trying to figure out how the horse was able to move to the next house on its own.

Gene Wachsmuth and Dad

Gene Wachsmuth and Dad in their late twenties

Dad Took Off to be With Mom

dad_87At 4:45am this morning our 87 year old Dad took off to be with Mom. She’d departed this world 18 years ago and, though he’d lost his wife, friend, fellow traveler, fishing buddy and mother of his children, he somehow survived and thrived as a Dad, grandfather and recently great-grandfather.

As we sat with him last week in his hospital room as he slept—before my sisters and I helped him to escape the hospital so he could be in his own home for his final days—we could sense the overwhelming presence of our mom. Her presence only grew stronger as my sisters and I stayed for the duration at his house and cared for him as his body slowly began to shut down.

At one point he remarked that he hoped mom would be waiting for him when he passed and then, pausing for just a moment, he mumbled softly “She’d better be!