Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Salute To Dad

This is my father – Dono Chester Brinkerhoff.

Funny name, huh? Back in “those” days they let their old aunties name their kids. HEY – nieces and nephews, what about it?? Who knows what Dono means or where it came from. He mostly went by “D.C.” or “Brink”.

I have mixed memories of my childhood and my relationship with him, but for this post, I will focus on the positive. I remember my dad nick-naming everyone and everything. I was “Sweety-Hearta”. He loved animals (ok, he also loved to hunt so that’s a “different” kind of love). He let me ride a horse by myself at the age of 4 – Mom didn’t know about it. He bought me Squirt from his Coke machine every time I went to his “shop” (he built homes, so his shop is where he made everything from cabinetry to duct work). He let me “fix” his hair. He built me the most beautiful playhouse. He was an amazing gardener. He could build or fix anything. He was a perfectionist. He could organize anything from a desk to a huge Elders Quorum party. He could BBQ! He had beautiful blue eyes and a sheepish, handsome grin. He was a great dancer and was often “the life of the party”. Whether he knew how to show it well or not, he adored his children.

The main thing I remember about Dad was his love for this country. I remember watching tears flow down his cheeks during the Star-Spangled Banner, and on every patriotic holiday. Our flag flew outside our home on every appropriate occasion.

As a young man in his early 20s, he joined the Army Air Corps at the beginning of World War II. He was sent to the Pacific to be an airplane mechanic. A few months after arriving in the Philippines, the Japanese overtook the island and he was captured. He was a Prisoner of War for the duration of the war – about 4 ½ years, as I understand it. His stubbornness, no doubt due to his German blood, and his pioneer heritage aided him in surviving, and to bringing him home alive.

He rarely could communicate with his family. They went months and months without knowing whether he was alive or dead. Any communication he was able to send was obviously as a guard watched over him,so it is doubtful that his health was “topnotch” as he

wrote here,

and as you can see in this photo.

The beatings, mistreatment, starvation, diseases, and much worse I am sure caused him health problems for the rest of his life. He had back problems, high blood pressure, and much more. As a result, he had a heart attack at the young age of 52. I was only 12. His heart had stopped, but it was started up again at the hospital and he was put on life support. After weeks of being in a coma, he came around slowly but never returned to his real self. His brain had been without oxygen for so long that his memories of many things, and abilities to do certain tasks, were gone. It was almost like someone with Alzheimer’s. He lived the rest of his life in a V.A. hospital, or adult care center. The Daddy I knew was gone. He lived that way for 21 more years.

I tell this story for a reason today.

Another thing I remember about my father was his hate for Communism. He read books about it, discussed it with others from time to time. He gave his whole life for this country. That resulted in my brothers and I losing a part of ours – losing our father before his time. Our children never got to fish with him, dance with him, sing with him, or laugh with him. They only saw Grandpa Dono as a strange old man who couldn’t remember anything.

To honor my father, and to trust in his instincts, I will be posting more political things on this blog. You may think I am becoming one of those “crazy” ladies who have nothing better to do. You may think I am a “right wing nut”. If you think either of those things, I ask you to open your mind, just in case I am correct. Just take a little chance. Both sides of the aisle in Congress are threatening our freedoms. I believe our President has plans that will take away the America as we know it. It is already happening. He has told us that this was his plan and that this is what he would do. Remember all that CHANGE? Were you listening? We cannot just sit and watch it happen any more.

Well, maybe you can, but I cannot.

I believe these are the days my father feared. What kind of daughter am I if I just watch it all happen and stay silent? What kind of mother am I if I don’t learn all I can about our nation’s history, then teach my children, although grown, about it and make sure they stay politically aware? What kind of daughter of God am I if I don’t do all I can to preserve the Free Agency that He has blessed me with?

I just hope to be the one I am supposed to be.

Dad is the handsome one with the big smile in the bottom of the photo. This appeared in the magazine, PhotoPlay, when Ingrid Bergman went to visit the soldiers recovering in the hospital after the war.

~and, to clarify, I am not right wing....nor a loon, but I am conservative.


  1. Wow, what an incredible life. Thanks for sharing so many details about your father. I am excited to hear your political views.

  2. That was really sweet, Auntie. Love you!


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