“We’re going on an Adventure!”
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Those were words we’d always hear at grandpa’s. He would never say, “not today,” or “maybe later” -- because that could mean missing out on something unexpected and great.
Last summer grandpa took all five of his grandsons on a treasure hunt. His youngest grandkids, Eli and Zeke, kept asking him about all the treasure that must be buried on the Islands across from his house at Schist Lake.
Grandpa loaded his boys in his little metal fishing boat. At first the motor wouldn’t start -- but he didn’t quit until it sputtered to life -- then off they putted across the lake on that great adventure. I think he was just as excited.
Grandpa anchored by the rocks-- his boys scurried out of the boy to start their hunt.
There it was -- a bright orange X -- made out of surveyor tape -- held down by a couple of rocks.
It was pure joy for him to see the surprise and excitement on his grandson’s faces.
He lived for that.
That was dad.
Cameron Dale Slugoski, was born on May 28th, 1957, in Wadena, Saskatchewan. He grew up in Margo on the family farm.
He was the fourth son in a family of seven boys and one girl. His parents, Florian and Anne raised their kids on the farm -- where dad learned the value of a hard days work.
Grandma Slugoski had told us dad was closest to his brother Darrell.
“The best of buddies,” grandma would say.
Dad was always inquisitive, learning new things and exploring.
Dad didn’t stay on the farm -- in November 1975, fresh out of high school, he moved to Snow Lake to start his mining career. Mom soon joined dad in Manitoba after they married on Valentine’s day, 1976. Snow Lake is where they began to build their life together.
That’s where they met many of their life-long friends. They stayed there for sixteen and a half years.
Dad’s first son, Jordon, was born in May 1976. He followed his dad around everywhere. The two were always fixing or building something. That never changed. Dad was often at Jordon’s helping him build a deck, a garage, his basement -- anything that needed to be done. Jordon loved having his help.
Dad was maybe too meticulous at times -- but he would never cut corners. There was no fast or easy way of getting the job done.
That was dad.
Three years after Jordon was born -- mom and dad added to their family. Dad was sure he was having a girl, mom was sure it was another boy. They were both right.
After the initial panic, dad was excited to have twins -- Bryce and Kendra. He was a “hands-on” dad and was never afraid to jump in.
He was there for all of our “firsts.”
First food, first bike ride and first time driving a car. And my goodness he was patient. So patient.
When he took me out to teach me how to drive, I drove his truck into a snow bank. He didn’t panic. He laughed and made a joke.
That was dad.
Dad worked hard and I know now that his work was hard. But he never once let the stress come home with him -- or if he did, he never showed it to his kids
He was dedicated and always put in that hard days work.
He started as a mucker. Being a farm boy from Saskatchewan, he had no idea what mining was all about, but his work ethic and intelligence did not go unnoticed.
Dad moved from miner to shift boss to surveyor and finished his career as a mine planner. After nearly 42 years at HBM&S, dad retired in June of 2016.
Just like at home, at work, dad never cut corners and he expected the same of anyone else. Maybe that didn’t make him the most popular shift boss at times, but dad’s goal was to make sure everybody made it home to their families.
I’ve been told he saved lives -- that makes us so proud.
But what he truly loved best about his job was the camaraderie of his coworkers.
Dad loved hockey. When Jordon and Bryce were little, he’d coach their teams and was on the road almost every weekend for tournaments.
Dad loved the Flin Flon Bombers.
At home games you’d find him standing in his usual spot -- against the rail -- Tim Rupp on one side, Nick Shaw in front. He said it was the best view of the ice.
Even if mom went to the game with dad, he’d refuse to sit with her. Mom was on her own.
More than anything, dad loved watching his grandson’s play hockey.
He was the biggest fan of Owen, Connor and Reid. He felt so lucky to be living close to his boys so he could take them to their tournaments.
Before a big game, he’d always tell them, “Keep your elbows high and your stick higher.”
Grandpa also made the trek to Edmonton to watch his youngest grandsons play. Last month he got to watch Eli in a tournament and Zeke at a couple of his practices.
He got a kick out of that -- and me as an intense hockey mom.
That was the last time me and my boys saw grandpa.
Dad loved my husband Tony, and Jordon’s wife, his daughter-in-law, Tammy. He treated them like his own children.
Tammy was actually dad’s hairdresser -- which wasn’t a big job. Oh, he got such a kick out of Tammy. She called him dad.
Over the years, Tony was able to work with dad at the lake on some construction projects. It was always the hottest days of the summer when they decided to put in new windows or build a deck. Tony, being a carpenter had different ideas of how the job should be done, but in the end, dad would win.
Dad had more energy than any of us and he never complained. Never.
It was about five years ago when we went to Hawaii, right before dad’s hip surgery. You could tell dad was in so much pain, he could barely walk. It didn’t stop him. Even when Tony slammed dad’s hand in the car door -- he didn’t say a word.
If there’s a word to describe dad, it’s selfless.
He always put everyone else first.
In the summer, when we’d come visit we’d call it our “all-inclusive” holiday.
Dad would never let us lift a finger.
Last summer a huge storm knocked down trees and wiped out the electricity for days.
Dad powered up the generator and made sure the coffee was always hot and the beer cold.
Just like his kids, grandpa always made sure he gave his grandsons their “firsts.”
Tammy and I would always give dad heck, because here he was feeding our babies ice cream or whip cream.
We’d get a little excited and say, “dad they’re too little to have that!”
Dad would just laugh at us -- you know dad’s laugh -- and he’d say;
“Grandpa’s house, grandpa’s rules!”
How could we argue with that?
He taught Owen, Connor, Reid, Eli and Zeke everything he thought a little boy should know:
-how to eat peanuts from the shell
-where the freezies and popsicles were kept in grandma’s freezer
-how to pee in the bushes
My boys loved that. So much so, when we got back to Edmonton, I’d often find them peeing in the front yard. Thanks grandpa.
Grandpa was so proud of his grandsons -- his buddies.
He took all of them fishing, but grandpa would never get to cast his line. He’d be too busy untangling the rods or trying to get the snags off the rocks.
Dad loved living at the lake -- that was his treasure.
When I think of him, I think of how happy he was cruising on his pontoon boat with his family. He loved the water, which is funny because he couldn’t really swim.
On tropical holidays you’d find him playing in the ocean.
My husband Tony will never forget the look on dad’s face when they were riding the waves in Mexico. A massive wave crashed over them -- when they surfaced, dad was standing beside a lady who lost her top. Every time dad tried to tell that poor lady -- another wave would toss him to the sand. He was laughing so hard.
It was just another adventure.
Dad just got a cell phone -- which was really fun for all of us kids. He would send jokes and riddles to his grandsons. That typing bubble would pop up -- we’d wait and wait -- he’d take so long to type anything.
He was texting with Reid one day and asked Reid a question.
Reid responded IDK. Dad asked Reid, “What does IDK mean?”
Reid texted back, “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?“, dad asked, “You don’t know what you’re writing?”
As Connor, Owen and Reid would say, “get with the times grandpa!”
Dad was an early riser.
Bryce was just up visiting him and he told me they would be on their third cup of coffee before the sun came up.
“Now what?” Bryce asked.
Dad didn’t waste time and he was always active or doing something to keep busy. Last week he was itching to start the yard work -- he was fishing out at Kisseynew -- he was walking the 10 kilometres to the Schist highway turnoff and back.
That was dad.
Dale. That’s what my mom called him. You may have known him as Cam, Slugo or Sluggy, but to mom he’ll always be Dale -- her best friend.
He wasn’t a hugger, he didn’t show his affection outwardly. It was in all the small, seemingly insignificant ways he showed his love to mom. He took care of her and she took care of him. They were truly partners, equals.
But mom’s happiness was so important to him.
On holidays, again dad would still be up before the sun. After walking the resort he’d always go back to the room with a hot coffee for mom.
He never once missed their anniversary. 43 years.
In the past ten years, mom and dad started to travel a lot and find new adventures. Often those adventures involved their good friends, Merv and Monica.
On one tropical vacation, dad and Merv were eyeing up the parasailing for a few days. Finally they said, “what could possibly go wrong?”
They decided to give it a try.
They should have noticed red flags when they saw the Mexican guy floating gas cans out to the boat.
High above the ocean, dad, who can’t swim, strapped in a flimsy sail -- the boat motor quit.
I can’t imagine the panic that must have flashed through his mind.
Dad crashed into the water with the parachute landing on top of him. It was a frantic recovery for that little Mexican, but aside from a few scrapes and bumps, dad was Ok.
Dad always bounced back.
Twenty years ago he suffered a massive heart attack. You’d never know it. He didn’t let any limitations hold him back.
Dad was going on half a heart -- but he lived and loved with his full heart.
Dad always joked that he wanted to die at the lake.
He told us he never wanted to leave.
When I walked down to the dock, I saw his footprints in the sand.
They were leading to the water.
Dad’s final adventure.