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A sauna tribute to my father

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A sauna at his health club

We were back to Buffalo, NY and I found myself at his health club a couple days after his funeral.  I had been to the Aquatic & Fitness Center a few times before. My Dad loved the facility and especially the sauna. He would tell me about his sauna sessions and how he enjoyed chatting with other folks during his sauna rounds.

Yea, it’s a health club sauna: “absolutely no spitting water or water on the sauna rocks at any time”.  Yet after the few days I had in Buffalo dealing with the loss of my father, it sure felt nice to experience some sauna therapy, with or without loyly.  After round one, I slipped out the pool patio door for cool down. The day was blustery, 40 mph winds, and there had been snow flurries in the air.  As I stood on the patio outside, I felt the stares of people sitting warmly in the hot tub inside as well as the ice cold wind chilling me down.

Round two started with a few others on the bench, but I soon found myself alone in the sauna.  We all know that sauna is a spiritual experience, and  though this may sound hokey, I started to hear my father’s voice within all the silence.  I heard him clearly, right there within these same cedar walls:

“Ah, this feels nice, but you know, my son has a sauna on an island in Northern Minnesota. It is wood burning and…..” He took great pride in my saunas.  And he loved to talk in the sauna. He’d continue with “So, think the Sabres can pull it off tonight?”

I thought about him and I enjoying sauna, how he’d be more of a “low bench Larry” and he’d screech like a child with any amount of cold water on his body.  I tried to teach him about the “rubber band theory” of temperature extremes.

But he liked sauna well enough.  And this was good enough for me.

It was a spiritual sauna that day.  Alone, hearing his voice.

Round three: instead of sitting quiet in the sauna, I turned to the guy sitting in the opposite corner, and what came out of my mouth was my Dad: “So, think the Sabres can pull it off tonight?”

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5 thoughts on “A sauna tribute to my father”

  1. Thanks. Rubber Band theory refers to the benefits of stretching out: a full, complete hot round, and a full, complete cool down. Allowing for these extremes is what creates true sauna benefits to emerge.

  2. This is great, Glenn. Cannot wait to sauna with your family for another tribute at the island this summer.

  3. Such a nice post Glenn, and so very sorry for your loss. I can attest to the rubberband theory, on the sauna bench, and in life. In the sauna, the further you go in each direction, the more relaxing and fulfilling the sauna is. You should sit not until some timer is up, but until it’s just too damn hot and you have to leave. Then, jump in the lake or pour ice cold water over your head and sit outside until you’re shivering. I mean, really bear it. The longer you do, the more profound the sauna is when you head back in. Take note of how your body responds to these extremes.

    And so it is in life – the more you let in love those around you – I mean, really let it in – the more you develop your spectrum of emotion. Your pain will be deeper, but somehow it will be more profound. Take note of how your body responds to these extremes as well.

    You and your family are in my thoughts Glenn.

    I’ll see you on the bench soon!

  4. Glenn – a beautiful tribute to your father, sorry for your loss. I’m sure he is with you, go Sabers!


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