So deep and profound was your influence in my life that, to this day, I continually reflect upon the lessons you taught simply by being. The time you came up to Washington to surprise Aunt Sheila for her birthday. You hid behind the laundry room door practically trembling with giddiness, then when she turned the corner and you (not ever a man to speak in a hushed tone) boomed, “surprise!” Your daughter’s face lit up with a joy and love for her father that, only until recently, I have begun to understand. Thank you for showing me that example.
During that trip you were waiting on a call from a man who was finishing up a purchase on one of your refurbished cars. I was sitting at the computer playing Tetris (I was so cool) and, after finally speaking with the gentleman, you angrily hung up the phone. When I asked what happened you huffed that the man did not have all of the money that he promised he would get to you. I will never forget. Less than 30 seconds later you called the man back and, you apologized, and told him that whatever he could afford, you would be okay with. When I asked you what was with the sudden change of heart you said, “Life is too short to not turn the other cheek.” You were helping someone out in their time of need and, while maybe not best for business, you acted as a kind, gentle man. Thank you for showing me that example.
Thank you for teaching me:
that whether dressed in your Sunday best, or traipsing around in your BVDs, you should always feels comfortable and confident in your own skin; that even when the weight of loss and grief feels like the world is collapsing upon you, we all have the capacity to be an unyielding pillar of strength for those that have, and always will, rely upon us; that addressing someone as darlin’ can pretty much put a smile on that anyone's face; that I should allow myself a layered, rich existence lined with paths that lead to crossroads of risk, confidence, heartbreak, pure joy, creativity, ingenuity and, above all, an abiding love; that you should never be ashamed to belt out a song at the top of your lungs; that we should always express how proud we our of our children, even in the little things; that children should be treated as children; cuddled and loved and have their ears *biten* off and their noses *stolen* from time to time; that adolescents should be shown the importance of hard work; and, that the love we show to our friends, family and community is reciprocated when it is genuine.
I love you. I miss you.