Father’s Contest Winner: Dale Campsall
Article & Portrait by Randy Loewen
“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” ~ Mark Twain, Atlantic Monthly, 1874.
Much like Mark Twain, we can all remember times when we were young and how our fathers seemed totally out of touch with reality. Then one day, we realize they were not as ignorant as we once believed them to be.
This experience hits home with the winner of our Father’s Day contest: Scott Campsall. Scott’s eloquent submission about his own father, Dale, recalled a time when he saw things from a child’s perspective. Now a father of a 7 year-old son, he sees his dad in a different light.
“Now I know what it takes to be a ‘real dad’ and as much as I’d like to think that it’s all about hugs and being a kid’s best buddy, I have discovered it takes much more.”
What may have been considered a “typical family”, the lives of the Campsalls were turned upside down in 1972 when Campsall’s mother, Aline, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Aline was confined to a wheelchair and eventually became paralyzed from the neck down. She would never leave the hospital to live at home again.
Dale remembers how difficult it was raising a young son, holding down a job, and doing his best to care for his ailing wife.
“There was much stress,” he says. “You just deal with it as a family. It’s like lifting weights; you get stronger as you deal with it.”
Thanks to the flexibility of his job, Dale took Scott to the hospital every night to visit his mother where Scott often did his homework. Dale built a home near the Uxbridge Cottage Hospital and relocated his family here so trips to the hospital would be more convenient; he still lives there today.
Ultimately, 14 years having to deal with the disease resulted in the couple’s separation.
“Scott was never a difficult child, but he resented the separation and wanted to move out,” Dale says. A compromise was reached with his 14 year-old son.
“[My Mother] lived with us downstairs, and Scott decided to go live with his grandmother,” Dale chuckles. All this time, “my dad ensured my mother could attend church regularly, ensured that large hospital bills were paid, and that I was well looked after,” says Scott.
MS claimed the life of Aline in 1997. Dale still speaks emotionally about how his wife could only communicate with the use of her tongue. “It’s such a terrible disease,” he adds.
Dale has since remarried, and he and his wife, Judy, share their home with a daughter, Christina.
Last fall, father and son experienced “a wonderful trip to Japan” for some quality time together. More family trips are planned for the future to strengthen the family ties.
Many people today consider celebrities and athletes their heroes; sometimes we need only to look at those unsung heroes who guide us, teach us to ride a bike, and tolerate gifts of soap-on-a-rope: our fathers.