It has been 5 years since my father, Jim Pollock (who wrote a weekly column titled “Transitions” for the Business Record), suddenly passed away from complications from chemotherapy.
5 years since I rushed home from my Americorps job in Denver to get a much needed final exchange of “I love you”, something rarely said between us. 5 years ago he made his final transition, on a cold gray morning, the sound and smell of rain drifting through the screen door. Since that time his family have all made transitions of our own.
My brother went to Iowa State, my dad’s alma mater. My sister moved to Chicago, a city that our dad lived in for a few years and always loved to visit. My mom is working but has been great at getting out and traveling more, seeing the world. And I, I moved back to Des Moines.
For those first few years I lived downtown in studio apartments, places that my dad would scratch his head over and wonder why any Iowan would live in 400 square feet. Though, I know all doubts would be erased if I had showed him the view from the rooftop patio of the Des Moines Building. I felt closer to him, being able to walk his streets and skywalks. I wish I could have met with him over lunch during those days. I’ve been keeping a close eye as they turn the old Des Moines Register building, where he worked for 20 years, prior to The Business Record, into apartments.
He always told us that Des Moines was in its “Golden Age”. That was back in 2012 but I can imagine what he would say now: “Geez, two skyscrapers proposed for one location? Don’t they know we have plenty of space?”, “Exactly how many taprooms do you kids need?”and “You put a grocery store where?!”
My father was a man of many hobbies and since returning to Des Moines I do my best to keep up with some of them. He always inspired my photography and I’d like to think he would be proud of how far I’ve come. I try to keep up on my writing and although I’m sure he would enjoy the content, he would question me on some of my grammatical choices. I bike along the Chichaqua Valley Trail, wishing I had done this ride with him when I had the chance. However, his woodshop is still mostly sitting the same way he left it, projects left unfinished and collecting dust; and his tractor from his weekend hobby farming was sold 3 years ago.
So on this 5th anniversary of his passing I plan to take the day off work and celebrate my dad. I’m going to take some photos in his hometown of State Center, wander the streets of downtown Des Moines, and, at the end of the day crack open a cold Mountain Dew (one of his few vices) and read through his Business Record articles.
Those of us he left behind have made transitions: his family, his city, but as he once wrote, “It’s a big, bizarre world, but at least you get to watch from close up.”