Monday, August 30, 2010


I witnessed something this afternoon I thought was unimaginable. I watched my friends, whose dad just died, do his father’s funeral. As I sat there and listened to my friend recounting all things his Father I tried to put myself in his shoes. I remembered back when my Dad left me. I was prepared. I had my Mother as my main focus. I made sure all went as we had planned during his funeral. I made sure no one did anything he had asked not be done, but to officiate the service, not a chance. I watched my friend with his wife; mother and children sitting not 5 feet from him capture the essence of his dad for all there who did not known the man. He spoke about how they really never had cross words. He even gave an example of when he tried to kind of get under his dad’s skin, but his dad wouldn’t take the bait. As he continued he would mingle in stories about his kids and his dad, his mother and his dad, his dad and friends, his dad and him. Voice always strong except when he talked about his own children and how he hoped he could be the example his father was to him and them.

That got me to thinking. What would my son say at my wake? I can promise you my son and I have had numerous wars of words. I am not so sure I have been a very good example of a dad. I swear I try to be there but can never make the grade. My hard head always wins and I go off like an atom bomb and here we go again. All I want is for him to be better than me. Is that too much to hope for? I know my standard for him is higher than any I might be able to attain but this is about him not me. I know what the real world is like, and no one out there takes prisoner, they all shot to kill and it takes great wisdom and courage to make it. If I give him every single thing he thinks he needs then when I am gone he will be soft and not ready. How did my friend’s dad do it? How did he balance the skills of getting his son so ready for the world, he became a leader of men, and still never had crosswords? I think when my friends gets a little better, and removed from this, that will be a conversation we have over a really nice bottle of wine.

I can promise you my son could not say those things about me. However, in my defense, and yes, I have one. All I have ever wanted for him was for him to be happy and safe. I want him to know the joy and comfort of being able to make it on his own. To know, no matter what he can eat tomorrow, and have a place to stay because he is in control of his life and destiny. That might sound a little melodramatic I know but that’s how I feel my Dad left me. When my Dad passed I was on my own, married and doing just fine. In my lifetime I have lost jobs unexpectedly and have never been sunk. Because I feel like my dad taught me how to survive. He taught me how to work hard, and never give up. I tell my son that, yet all he sees is his counterparts not having to work hard and never give up, so I am an uncaring dad in his eyes, as he has called me many times. Will I ever live to see him learn the lesson I am so desperately trying to teach him? I know I am not too sure my dad had all of the confidence in me either. However, he did leave me in charge of his most prized possession, his wife, my mom!

So I guess we are back at the beginning. I have always had respect for my friend whom I saw today. He went up a few notches in my eyes. I guess you know your son has achieved all you have asked for when he has the wherewithal to stand up, and preach your funeral, Unimaginable.


The Blessed Man

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Inevitable II

Well as predicted, in the earlier inevitable post, my friends Father passed away. I am reminder often when this happens to someone especially when they are as close as this guy is to me the old saying “You become a man the day your Father dies”. Nothing can be truer. He no longer has the safety net to operate above. You know I can remember always knowing in the back of my mind that my Dad was there. I would go long periods, after I moved out and before the cancer, where we would never even speak. It never seemed to bother him. I guess he kept up with me thru mother most of the time, if he ever did. However, there were always the times when I had a tuff one and he was always there. Never with the where you been or now you want to talk, just solid loving advice that I wished I had taken every time. I would be much further in my life had I done that one small thing!

So my friend texted me, to tell of his dads passing, and I felt a feeling that you only get when you know someone just became a member of the man club. It happened to me and now it has happened to him. He has been blessed to have his Dad for all of his almost 60 years. He spoke today of his father and how he influenced him in every aspect of his life. My friend worked today, yes the day after his father passing. You see my friend has one of the most important jobs in the world. He is an example. His every word and action are constantly being watched and analyzed by his friends, co-workers, and his enemies. Quite an unenviable position, I would imagine. He seems to just glide along, always smiling, having a kind or encouraging word for any and all he comes in contact with. He is a wonderful father to his children. He is also a good husband, like us all, he married way out of his zip code and truly loves his wife. He is also a good friend, this maybe his best trait, since it is the basis of my interaction. He has always been there for me. And lord knows I have needed him. He is the most non judgmental person I think I have ever sat and talked with. He makes no claim to know all of the answers but will assure you, the answers are there and together they will come to us. Just saddle up next to him and we will get to the answers.

I love my friend and welcome him into the club of men who have to live without their Dads. It is a club which no one hopes to be a member, but one where all of the membership has all walked the same road. It is also a supporting membership of each other. Maybe now I can be the friend, to my friend, he has always been to me.

I love ya MBFAM


The Blessed Man


This morning something very special happened in church. There has been a drive to get people to bring a friend to my church today. There had been talk of a special guest who no one would ever believe would be there. Well the cat got out of the bag earlier in the week when we found out the sure enough there was going to be someone special Amy Grant! So they put out the warning for the regular people to maybe go to the least crowed services which would be the 530 on Saturday evening or the 8am, our service of choice, to maybe avoid the crowds. Well the 5:30 service had over 5,500 people. I was scared to death the 8am would be over run. Funny how the whole idea was to get people to come to church and I am worried about not getting my favorite parking place and being able to sit in “My Seat”. I get the honestly I promise.

I can remember going to the small country church with my granny. Every member had “their seat” Everyone would file in and take their seat and church would begin. I never think much about those days, but this morning they came flooding back like a raging river that had been unleashed in the depths of my soul. I never thought much about those Sundays until Amy Grant got up recalled her being in, what sounds like the exact same church, from the exact same denomination. She spoke about her and her sister sitting there singing these songs and how they are the things she remembers most. She even mentioned to our pastor how she doesn’t remember one single sermon, but all of the songs. Then she sang a medley of three songs that instantly took me right back to that little church. I could see Uncle Jim wearing his best pressed checked shirt and cleanest blue jeans. My granny, hair in a bun on top of her head, wears either her blue flowered dress or her plaid one as she said those were her church/funeral dresses. Sitting behind us was Ms Brown singing off key and as loud as any one I have ever heard. Then there was, I forget their names, but the was an older gentleman and his wife. They always spoke to my granny before they sat down. His overhauls were always clean and pressed his wife always worn a hat with fresh flowers on it. I thought that was cool until I grew a little older then I thought it was weird. There might have been 50 people there and then you could bet it was “Dinner on the Ground” Sunday. Anyway, Amy Grant stood there and took me back in time. She sang a medley of 3 songs, one was my Mothers favorite, one my Granny’s favorite, and one my father’s favorite. I was moved beyond understanding. I could suddenly hear my Mother and my granny singing along with Amy Grant, what a wonderful feeling. They were there I have no doubt about it. I when to church this morning with my mother and my granny, so yes Amy Grant is and was a very special guest at church this morning.

Sadly I will never get to thank her for the gift she gave me this morning, the chance to go back to church with the two most influential women in my life, my mother and my granny. The two women I loved the most in my life during my formative years. The two women responsible for whatever good I might represent in my life. Standing there hearing them singing along with this super star is something I think I will always remember, one of the purest things that has happened to me in a long time. Thank You Amy Grant for giving me the gift of precious memories.

So if you ever hear that there is something special going on at your church or one you have been thinking about attending. Please go you never know who might be standing beside you singing their heart out.


The Blessed Man

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I am a family man. I love to be with family, I think families are the absolutely the foundation of a civil society. All of my original family lives in Alaska. All that remain is a sister who lives there with her family, her husband a fine provider, and Dad to her 3 children all healthy and happy. I don’t see them much. I talk to my sister on occasion and there are the obligatory birthday calls but we are not close. I love her and always want her to be happy. She has a wonderful family in Alaska and they are truly happy. I am glad. Me, it’s just my lovely wife, my son, who I write about way too much, and my precious mother-in-law.

This one is about a family I write about a lot, but they are truly more than a family. They are a Clan. Their roots run deep, from the Patriarch, Tone the Bone, right down to the upcoming Grandchild, yet to be named. This is a group that defines the word family. They are always there for each other and go out of their way to include each other in every aspect of their lives good and bad. The Eldest son, a wonderful young man, who my wife will tell you in a heartbeat, is the best looking man on the planet. But more than handsome, he is even more special on the inside. An example of his kindness, I can remember when my Mother was alive; he would come into the room and just light up, hurry over and hug her and tell her how glad he was to see her. I will never forget her telling me how special she felt every time she went to this family’s home. Another time, I needed to go pick up a truck my young son had abandoned it was 4 hours away. I simply made mention of the fact and he insisted I take his truck because it was bigger and safer than mine. What 20 something do you know that would be that concerned?

Well the Clan is on a vacation and they are all together at a wonderful beach house. The eldest has been dating this wonderful young lady for a while, we have all been hoping and praying they would marry. Well down on the coast with all of the Clan together he FINALLY asks this young lady to marry him. That is what I mean about doing things together. You will remember the story about the Grandchild, done when the entire Clan was together. To a member they are special. I am very proud to claim to be an edge member of this clan. They treat me, and mine, as if we were one of them. If the event is held in town we are almost always a part. Very Special people.

Now what makes a clan/family special? I am thinking it must be the leadership. As I think back to my youth I can remember I had a buddy whose Dad was almost as big of an influence as my own. He was out of bounds funny and really taught me a lot about doing things for yourself. I can remember whenever one of our cars, mine or my buddy, his son, would lay down he always told us we could fix it. We kept a car torn apart in their driveway from the time I was 16 until we moved out together when we were 18. He was an avid golfer shot the first 59 I had ever heard of he is still a local legend around town in the golfing circles. I can remember one time when the bathroom toilet was busted and we installed a new one. He was supervising, my buddy and I are the work crew, and his Mother, the general manager, was yelling at all of us to not get any water on the floor. Well needless to say we almost flooded the house; we still laugh about listening to my buddy’s Mom and Dad going back and forth about it. Like my folks, they are both gone now, and missed greatly. The Clan I write about here has great leaders to, the Father, a more caring man you will never find, the mother, a more loving example cannot be set. The children are walking, breathing proof of the leadership of the two people who drive this family in the direction of all things good. So all of the Clan’s I have been blessed to be a part of have had great leaders.

That brings me to another thought, where is my son’s clan? What kind of Clan leader have I been? Judging by the examples I have sited here, not the best. Then I ask, what kind of member he has been, possibly trying to hide my lack of leadership. Does he know he is missing out on some of the most special memories? He really has no friends to speak of, for reason stated in other posts, my opinion only. He doesn’t really come around my Memphis family. I invite and he comes on occasion. Where will his memories come from? He might be living a fuller live than me, I just don’t know about it I guess. Still I hope he has a clan to go to when times are tuff. It is easy, as we all know, to make it during the uptimes. It’s when you are feeling abandoned and alone that I take such great solstice in my Memphis Family/Clan.

Well congratulations to the newly engaged couple. May you be as happy in your marriage as your Mother and Father, and as I am in mine. Always remember there are great times and tuff times and always rely on your Clan to share it all with you. I know I do!


The Blessed Man

Thursday, August 19, 2010


If you are a regular reader of this Blog you know I have issues with my son. The issues are always issues of understanding. I am quite sure that blame lies on both parties, and neither will ever accept their part.

The latest in the long line of issues happened just the other night. He had an event tied to his work. I have attended ever thing this child has ever done. When he lived with his mother, 3 hours away, I would drive over and back to watch him play a basketball game, where he might not even play. I never complained and always tried to be there. The reason for this is because when I was playing sports growing up my Father never saw me play one game. I played Football, Basketball and Baseball. Not one time was he able to come. As you might remember he worked 2 or 3 jobs most of my young life so I guess I have always given him a pass on that part. However, it never took away the disappointment of his not ever making a game. So when I had a son, I knew if he ever did anything I would be there and have been. Well now, we are talking about a 21 year old U.S. Air Force veteran, a young man who lives on his own and for the most part pays his own way. We are not talking about a 9 year old. Well back to the event at hand. I loaded up the wife and the Mother-in-law and we went to his event. The event is broken into 2 halves. He had 2 major parts in the first half. And no parts in the last half save the finale which included all of his co-workers as well. We watched him perform during his pieces and he has become very good at his job. At the intermission the Mother-in-law, who is very sensitive to cold was freezing, so we decided to leave since the only thing we would miss is the finale that he would be a part of. Well he comes out to the car and makes quite a scene about us leaving. All huffed up and storms off. I was in shock. This from a kid who had called me earlier, as I was working, and asked me to bring him something to eat so he didn’t faint during his performance. Of course, I made him two sandwiches and was happy to do it for him.

So as I was driving off I remembered my feelings about my Dad not ever seeing me do anything. Then I thought about the times I drove 6 hours just to sit in a gym and maybe see him play. I remembered the times I sat in a gym watching him Fence. I have always been there. I got so pissed I could hardly control myself. He is truly thankless. Here I have tried to be that Dad and he is sulking around like a child whose toys have been taken away because we missed the finale!! Now I am not looking for a Dad of the year medal but come on give me a break. This one is the hill I will die on because I have lived the other side of it. I wonder what he would do if the next time he has one of these shows I suddenly had to work and did not even make it. Would he have the feeling I had ever game when afterwards all of the families would be there to meet their sons and talk about the game and I rode home with them. The Dads there always included me and acted as if I was a part of their interest but there was something so missing because it was not my Dad. My son has never known that feeling; it might be good for him. But is that wrong? Now am I being childish? Am I trying to hurt his feelings like he hurt mine? The true answer is yes. I guess that makes me the bad Dad. But that is also another reason for this space it lets me talk about what I would like to do, and never will.

I just know there is no more hurtful feelings than went you have worked very hard at something, no matter what it is, and to think you have done a good job, only to have it all thrown back in your face and to be treated thanklessly, very sad.

As I sit here writing this I realize that I am very jealous of my sons Father. I wish I had one like him. I am feeling sorry for myself for not having a Father who was able to come to the games and events or find them important enough to matter. I guess I need to get my little hammer and nails out and build a bridge over this one shouldn’t I? Still doesn’t make it hurt any less. I am reminded of my Mother comment to me as I was holding my son the day after he was born. It has never rang truer than this minute. She said “your are holding the one thing in your life can bring you more joy than you can imagine. And you are holding the one thing that will hurt you deeper than anything else in the world. Always try to remember the joy and forget the hurt”. Wow I guess I need to move on now. Thanks for listening.


The Blessed Man

Monday, August 16, 2010


I have had something very unusual happen to me in the last 60 days. Three people I have worked with for more than 25 years have lost their spouses. I have seen people I have not seen in over 10 years at the three funerals. What a sad way to have a reunion of some of the most fun people I have ever known. These are people I grew up with, not only in an industry, but as a person as well. It was good to relive some of the fonder memories as we visited with our sadden friends.

Having been to the third funeral this morning, and seeing a mountain of a man reduced to a shell, I started to understand the over whelming remorse he was feeling. I loved this man when I worked with him. He was an unusual guy from a stand point of you either liked him, or you hated him. One of the few men in my life I have ever known that was this way. I am blessed to have known him. He showed me a lot of things during the time I worked with him. I think the one thing he did that the hated him people saw was he was very comfortable with the truth. No matter what the receiver might think, he was very comfortable taking the other side if that is what he believed, a rare trait in deed. Looking into my old friend’s eyes this afternoon all I saw was a hollow being. It was like his soul had been stripped from him. His wife’s death was very sudden and he and his family were in shock.

I got to thinking about my own wife, and what if something happened to her. To tell you the truth I started crying driving down the street. Isn’t it strange how we come into this world an individual, and if you are blessed you become a team? As someone once said “there is no I in team”. For that matter there is no I in any of my teams. I’m so blessed to be a member of so many teams. I have my Memphis Family team. Every member to a person gives so the others are taken care of and comfortable. We just returned from vacation and one couple of the family stay behind. Daily, they checked on my wife’s mother, and her brother who was tending the home fire while my wife got a much deserved break. She would text my wife daily with updates and reassuring her all was good back at the house. That’s what true teams do. I have my work team. A small group I know I can count on the go the extra mile and not expect anything for the effort. It’s all for the good of the group. I’m very proud to be on all of my teams.

As I reflect back on the three funerals there was a hollow feeling at each one. I even remember feeling it as I remembered the fun times I had shared with the people involved in this tragedy. Strange how I hadn’t thought of most of these people until I heard of the death, and saw them at the funeral home. I knew them, and considered them friends but people retire, move on, lose touch, and become focused on their own issues as we all do. Wouldn’t it be great if we would do what we say we will do at these events? “I’ll call you”, “We’ll get together”, “Let’s stay in touch, here’s my email”. But somehow we end right back in our own little world where we feel comfortable and safe. What a shame. Well I guess I need to put it in my calendar to make sure I call my friend in a month and check on him. That is the least I can do for a guy who I spent twenty five years around. Don’t you think?
Well I’m going in here and cook dinner. The Memphis Family is headed this way and I need to put the feed bag on them!! But I can promise you the first thing I’m going to do is go and hug and kiss my wife and tell her how much she means to me. I would hope and pray if the good lord takes me the last thing she heard me say was “I Love You”. And I wish the same for you.


The Blessed Man