June 21st, 2010 by grant

Since we just celebrated Fathers’ Day, I thought I’d share my tribute to my father at his funeral last month.

Family & friends, I’d like to take this time to talk a little about my Father.

Earlier in preparation for this day, my wife Sandy asked me two very important questions: How did your Father influence you? Did you say everything you needed to say to him, as I don’t want you to have any regrets.

I answered them with brutal honesty as I usually do. The room fell silent… those answers came back to haunt me. You see the problem is I have a very short memory. I only remembered the later years. I simply forgot about the early days. There is a reason why they call it the formidable years. I’ll come back to those answers later.

My Father’s Influence:

My Father was a meat cutter in a grocery store. I don’t know much about that as he didn’t talk about work very often. To those of you who know me quite well, I can’t imagine many of you know exactly what I do for a living? I don’t talk about work very much. I just don’t feel it’s important. My life at home is very important to me. Is it being humble, or is it my Father’s influence?

I was told that my Father was a talented musician and singer. That’s foreign to me as I’ve never heard him play. I don’t recall him ever singing. Back in 2000 during our honeymoon, we stumbled into a music store on Maui and I bought my first ukulele. I don’t play much anymore but at one time I was told I was pretty good. I thought to myself where did that come from? On the wall at home hangs a 1947 ukulele that my Father gave me. Is it talent, or is it my Father’s influence?

To this day every time I buy a steak, it’s chosen with the criteria that he taught me. The cut, the marbling, the color. Why is it that Sandy always says, “why would I order steak at a restaurant when I know you can cook it at home and it will taste just as good”. Is it extensive bovine anatomical knowledge, or is it my Father’s influence?

Speaking of cooking, my Father was into cooking. Now I never had the opportunity to cook for him, he never visited me after I got married, but cooking is one area that I think I could take on my Father in a Food Network kind of throwdown. I recall some of Sandy’s friends saying how lucky she is that I do most of the cooking. Is it luck, or is it my Father’s influence?

Later in life it seems we couldn’t agree on much. We’d argued about politics, religion & health. He was so opinionated and stubborn. He just wouldn’t budge. It was oh so frustrating. It was like arguing …into a mirror.

I recently bought a pop up greenhouse in my backyard for my orchids, as it gets cold at night where we live in the Bay Area. Sandy would question why I would go to such lengths. Is it insanity or is it my Father’s influence?

My Father served our country in the Army. It wasn’t until I was preparing the collage of photos you saw by the entrance that I realized that we both served in the military. You know only 1% of the population choose to join the Service. So it wasn’t that common back in 1980 to do so. Was it for a love of country or my Father’s influence? I’ll let you decide.

Sandy was giving me a hard time because I had just gotten an iPad and got hooked on this bowling game. Top score of 243, thank you very much! I was trying to explain that the ball has to hit the pocket at this particular angle driving the ball into the 5 pin… then realized who taught me that. Was I a pinhead, or was it my Father’s influence?

My Father also had an indirect influence on me. I recently taught a online course in photography. In my bio I wrote I’ve been taking pictures since 1976…wait my Father bought my first camera with his hard earned money, from Sogge’s Photo in Carson. I’ve been taking photos for the last 34 years and I completely forgot about that. Now while he didn’t have the photographic eye he enabled me to develop mine.

Did I say everything I needed to say to him?

When my brothers and I were little, my Father would take us fishing in the harbor on a boat. We’d wake up early, it was still dark outside. I was so excited that I would have these massive stomach cramps, double up in pain. He’d spend all day out on very small boat with 3 whiney kids. I never appreciated that, I never thanked him. Did I say everything I needed to say to him?

When I got involved in athletics at the YMCA and in high school, he would attend many of the competitions. Sometimes he’d come straight from work. I could tell because he was still wearing his work clothes. I never appreciated that, I never thanked him. Hell I thought it was just a ride home. Did I say everything I needed to say to him?

I remember when he bought me my first car. I thought I was so cool. I wrecked it shortly after that… the car my Father bought with his hard earned money.  I never appreciated that, I never thanked him. Did I say everything I needed to say to him?

There are countless more stories I could tell you, but I think you get the picture.

One thing we can all thank my Father for is bringing us all together today to reconnect. You know I haven’t seen some of you in 10 or even 20 years. Let’s commit not wait another 20 years, or better yet let’s see each other before the next funeral.

So back to those two very important questions that Sandy asked me. I’d like to recant my answers. The truth is my Father’s influence is felt in almost everything I am and everything I do, from work, to play, to the way I speak, the way I look, to the food I eat and I never told him that. I will miss my father.

In closing I’d like to thank everyone for coming today to honor my Father. I know you are all busy and some travelled a distance to be here. On behalf of my Mother, my two brothers Curtis, Darren, we really appreciate it. I’d also like to thank Don, Hester, Elaine & Mel for all your help. Thank you.

2 Responses to “Father’s Day 2010”

  1. Thank you for sharing your memories. Xoxo.

  2. never read a more beautiful tribute … thanks so much for sharing this!

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