It would have been pretty easy to write humor this week, given the fact that some illnesses are more prone to provide embarrassing situations than others. But it’s also been a very tough week and the very thing that could (and will later) be shared in humor has also given me one of those little “wake up calls” we all get from time to time. The trick is knowing when to really listen.
For at least two families in our community, it has been a very tough week. Five children who’ve never had to experience a Father’s Day without theirs were forced to join a group to which many of us already belong--some a long time, some much less. I've been there awhile, as has Bob. The loss of one’s father is a milestone event. For Marc, and Tracy and Heidi and Carl and Kyle, I wish I could tell you something, anything, right now that could make you feel better. Losing parents is difficult at any time but for those must make that journey as young as all of you are is as hard as it comes.
For now, you just need to get through, one day at a time. This is when you will realize that you have a community of people who care about you and want to help you in any way we can. While we may not feel the depth of your pain, many of us have in our own situations and though there are no magic answers, there are certainly some things I (and others) can tell you that can offer you some peace and acceptance down the road.
I have dealt with a pretty good case of Salmonella this week and although I was very fortunate, it is an illness not to be taken lightly. It has the potential to take life too and it can take you down pretty low.
As I laid in the hospital on some of my worst days, and I reflected on the loss of George and Jim, I once again tried to make sense of why them, why now, why not me too? Easy questions that creep into our minds but ones that we cannot answer and never really will.
But as I tried to deal with my own feelings about the loss of your parents, I was reminded that even though we don’t get to choose and we don’t get to know why--I do know that there are reasons. As I thought about George and Jim and my own friendships with each, I realized that perhaps if I could share some of the fun that immediately came to mind with both, that maybe just the fact I am here to do that could be helpful to you and your families.
For George, I will always remember Friday nights in the crow’s nest at Guernsey-Sunrise football games. For many years he served as announcer and I think it would be fair to say that if you didn’t experience George on the mike for at least four quarters of football, you had missed something special. It actually wasn’t even so much about the football game--and as soon as you read this, anyone who was there at any of these times will know exactly what I’m talking about. In those days, the Lion’s Club sold brats before and during the games and they always put the big push on just before halftime. And that’s when George was in his element. Nobody in Viking Stadium could say they didn’t know there were brats for sale once George got started on his sales pitch just before halftime. Sitting in the press box and listening to the myriad of ways he talked about those brats--well, like I said, if you were around then, you remember it. At some point I began to do play by play because we needed George on the clock. His brother Rudy was usually up there helping too and they would try to help spot numbers for me to report ball carrier, who made the tackle, etc. I always kind of wondered if George and I were watching the same game. He’d say (to me) “tackle by 47” Well, that worked if I saw 47 too, but most of the time, we didn’t agree on the player involved. So then I had to make a split second decision--say what George said, or stand my by own vision. I couldn’t win--and of course if I chose the wrong one...well suffice it to say with George on one side and Rudy on the other, keeping a live microphone strategically covered when they started in was a challenge at times and I know I didn’t always get it turned off in time! It was always fun and it’s what I’ll always remember about George. It’s brings a smile every time I think about it and I hope sharing that with you does the same.
Now with Jim--well, I will never forget what he pulled on me one summer afternoon. We lived close to Jim and Becky then and she and the boys mowed for some of the people on our block. They’d always come down the alley with their mower and I’d be out there too so we’d see each other fairly often.
As mowers will do....mine bellied up on me one day and we were expecting company. Was commiserating that to Becky as they went by and she said--”oh just use ours” and she left it there right then so I could get our yard done. I really appreciated it. Nothing says Alzheimer’s to your kids that come home to visit as when your yard is half-mowed. Anyway, I got it done and thought I’d better get the mower right back to them as they were hired out regularly. Becky had just said to leave it in their garage and that would be fine. So I marched the mower over there, saw the side garage door open and proceeded to pop the front wheels over the door jamb. Just as I was pushing on through the door, this voice out of NOWHERE says “Whaddya doin?” OMG. I know I aged at least 10 years in that moment. I was trying to breathe and he was getting WAY too much enjoyment out of what he’d just put me through! And of course, that came up nearly every time we talked since. So Carl and Kyle--there’s a story for you that will help you remember the very best part of your dad (the orneriest too!) but none-the-less, one of my favorites. Any time I’ve struggled when I missed my dad, I’ve tried to go right back to those kinds of memories and I can assure you--it helps. You’re hear more as time goes by and I know that it’s exactly what George and Jim would want us to think about! Good guys--and GREAT memories. For the complete article see the 06-18-2013 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-18-2013 paper.