Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tribute to a Traveler: Robert Wechter 1928 - 2015

         Two weeks before being diagnosed with colon cancer, my father sat on the porch of our beach rental house and leafed through the latest issue of National Geographic Traveler.  Forever in search of another adventure Dad awaited the Traveler each month, devouring it from cover to cover.

         After Dad set the magazine aside I asked the question he had come to expect every summer:  "How about a list of places you and Mom would like to see in 2016?"  Although my parents still reminisced and recalled special moments from previous international journeys, lately they'd limited their travel destinations to North America.
         Dad thought for a moment.  "Well, let's see," he said,  "I've never been to Montana.  Then there's the Columbia River Gorge.  The Florida Keys would be nice.  Or, how about Nova Scotia?"  Now Mom chimed in:  "Oh yes, " she added, "I've always wanted to see Nova Scotia."

         At ages 86 and 85 Dad and Mom didn't get around as well as they used to.   And even though Dad hadn't been feeling quite himself lately, we had recently returned from a trip to South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.  As for Canada, their passports were current; they were ready to go!

       That settled it.  "Come January," I said,  "I'll start the Nova Scotia trip-planning."

       Cancer, however, had other plans.  Cruel, heartless, unforgiving plans.
       Less than three months later, on a bright blue October day, Dad was gone.


       Dad was a fan of my blog and eagerly awaited each new post.  He and Mom had never bought a computer so I printed the blogs and mailed them copies.  Dad always commented on my posts but my readers never saw his reviews online; he commented the old-fashioned way—over the telephone.
       I will miss that.


       I suppose it's the ultimate tribute to say of someone that at the age of eighty-six he was "gone too soon".   But my Dad still had enthusiasm for life and for travel.  He had places to go and things to do!  Below are some photos from the past several years of travel with my parents.  Gone too soon.  Indeed.

July 2015.  Surrey-riding on the boardwalk at Ocean City, New Jersey.

 March, 2015.  A lifelong baseball fan, Dad was thrilled to watch
 grandson Mark play Division One College Baseball
for Winthrop University.  Here he poses with
me,  Mark and my sister, Diane, after a Winthrop win in South Carolina.

March 2015.  Enjoying the sight of thousands of blooming
azaleas at Wesley Memorial Gardens, St. Simon's Island, Georgia.

December 2013.  Not just fair-weather travelers!   My parents toughed out
a zero degree day in Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons.

June 2014.   Dad always looked forward to sampling the
regional cuisine of the places he traveled to.  At Doc Martin's
Restaurant in Taos, New Mexico we savor an
authentic southwestern meal. 

June 2014.  Ready to roll.  Relaxing at the Old Santa Fe Inn before
traveling to the next New Mexico destination.

June 2014.  Ah, the good life.  Taking a break at the
Adobe and Pines Inn,  Taos, New Mexico.


  1. My sincere condolences, Rita. Dads are quite irreplaceable for it seems that the greatest support system in your life has suddenly vanished into the blue!
    This line by Matsuo Basho comes to mind, " Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home."
    Keep up with the travels Rita, notwithstanding the travails you come across

    1. Thanks, Soumyendu, for your condolences. I like the Matsuo Basho quote, and also your advice in your final sentence. Travels and travails—that's an apt summation for life's journey.

  2. Rita, your blog posting is such a fitting tribute to your father. Please know that my heartfelt sympathy goes out to you for the loss. Words are so inadequate to soothe the pain you are feeling now. To bury your parent is to bury a substantial part of your past, and that is a significant loss.


    1. John, I appreciate your expressions of sympathy. You're right, this is a significant loss. Thankfully, I have many good memories to take with me into the future.

  3. Rita, I am passing a hug virtually to you. I lost my father the same way. It hurts and there is no getting around that. Take time to mourn and let the good memories flood over the pain in your time.

    1. Thanks so much for your virtual hug, Liz. I am so sorry to hear that you lost your father the same way. Cancer is tough.
      I really appreciate your heartfelt comments and advice.

  4. Rita, I’m sure your father would have enjoyed this post filled as it is with respect and love for the man who helped you develop your taste for travel. When I lost my parents, the words of Helen Keller helped: “Those you have loved remain a part of you forever.” So I believe that your dad will continue to travel with you.

  5. I think you're right, Janet—I'm sure that Dad would have appreciated this post. I only wish I wouldn't have had to write it just yet.
    I appreciate the Helen Keller quote. So true.
    Thanks for your kind words.

  6. Dear Rita,

    I'm so sorry for your loss. It seem spirit of adventure and love of travel runs in the family - and what a wonderful tradition to carry on and celebrate.

    How great that your dad was able to read your blog, even without a computer!

    I know the pain of losing a parent, but he'll be with you every trail you venture down and every journey that makes your heart soar - love never dies.

    My thoughts are with you and your family,

    1. Vickie, thanks so much for your words of condolence and for your kind thoughts. I feel I inherited Dad's interest and curiosity in the world around him, and his enduring love of travel. Those traits will continue to live on!
      Thanks again.