Dear JajI: When I saw you for a brief moment a few weeks ago, I wished I had time to tell you about the ways you’ve influenced my life and work. Since I won’t be with you on Father’s Day, I am taking this time to share some thoughts with you.
I remember a conversation at the dinner table one night when I was a kid. You were concerned about the civil unrest that was taking place across the country at the time. You said it was important for people to exercise their First Amendment rights, but it should be done in a nonviolent manner. You wondered aloud about the kind of world that would be left for future generations. That always stuck with me, and is probably one of the reasons why I became a journalist. This month’s cover story about the Summer of Love reminded me of those family discussions at mealtime.
There’s also my first memory of coming to Madison, and how excited I was to see the city and the beautiful landscapes. I’m guessing I was 4 years old. Mom packed a picnic lunch and we ate by one of the lakes. Your love of the outdoors has rubbed off on me, Jaji, and I need to spend time in nature, especially by the water, to rejuvenate my soul. This month’s feature story on Madison lakes starts with our Ho-Chunk legend about how these bodies of water were formed—a story this magazine first published in December 2015, during the winter storytelling time.
I consider myself fortunate to lead the editorial side of a magazine that’s all about Tejop—the place everyone else knows as Madison. I work with some excellent people. I am proud to tell you, Jaji, that some of their work won awards from statewide and national organizations. We picked up six awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, two from the City Regional Magazine Association and one from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. You and Mom told my siblings and me that we should always try to do our best. I keep that in mind every day.
So much has happened since you left for the spirit world more than four decades ago. But I was so happy to see you in my dream last month. I carry your words and teachings with me, and I always will. Happy Father’s Day, Jaji.
Karen Lincoln Michel is the editor of Madison Magazine.