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This is a picture of my father, Gene Philpott, as a young soldier. My dad spoke fondly of his time in the service. Of course, he was fortunate to serve in the States and never saw combat. He said, “There is something about marching in a military parade that makes you feel good.” My mom said that he went into the army as a somewhat clumsy, overweight boy and came back as a confident, handsome man.

After making a reputation for himself as a tough lawman for over twenty years, he retired early after being diagnosed with kidney and bone cancer. He fought the cancer for six years until he died at age 56.

He was a complicated man, and I never quite measured up to his standards, but I know he loved me. As I write my stories and books, I find myself channeling his character again and again.

There are days, like yesterday, when life turns dark. Then I cry like a little girl, desperately wanting her daddy.

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