I mean, they kind of are, right? I have given more than my share of them over the years and they seem kind of mistimed. I was thinking (on Day 7 at the Hilton you have a lot of time to think) shouldn’t the person being memorialized be honored by hearing all of the good things being said about them?
Instead, stories are told, remembrances given, some laughs are had, and some tears are shed. It feels almost self-serving. Yes, we, the ones still alive might feel better, but shouldn’t we share those emotions with each other while living?
People approach you after you give a eulogy with comments like “you spoke so beautifully” or “you made me laugh/cry/smile.” But was it the speaker that made them laugh or smile or cry? Really it was the person who had the hardest job that day that made them laugh, smile or cry and they weren’t there to see you do any of those things. They weren’t there to see how the honoree touched the others there honoring them.
I have no intention of eulogizing my dad any time soon. He is too strong and the fight still a winning one, but don’t you think Nate would really appreciate hearing what you think is special about him while he can still appreciate them and appreciate you?
If you are so inclined, please share a memory, a laugh or a photo so that he can enjoy it with you now and get to hear all of the great things you think, say or remember about him. We will tell stories far in the future without him, but what do you say now? I say, let’s talk about him in front of his face.
I’ll start with a couple. There are many.
I could count on one hand the number of little league, middle school, junior varsity and varsity games of mine that he missed over the years. I mean, I could but I can’t because how do you count zero. Zero, I am not kidding. That’s a lot of ball games to see. Not even one. That’s pretty special.
I remember where we sat and conversations that were had a major sporting events. Not the seat numbers, but the part of the stadium, the energy around us, the drives to them and the hot dogs eaten.
He is very lucky. He has made being in the right place at the right time an art. He is the guy smuggling bottles of coke and water into the stadium that gets in without being frisked, he is the guy squatting down to tie his shoe as a construction worker swings a ladder around. He gets up starts walking and never knew there was a ladder, let alone the fact that it almost took him out. In 1998, when the Number 11 ranked Michigan team was coming in town to play Number 2 Ohio State, my new in laws were in town with my two new brothers. We needed three extra tickets. At the stadium, we fanned out looking. He triumphantly came back to the group having purchased a great seat for $25. $25??!! For this game? Are you kidding me? I looked at it. The ink was practically running off of it. It was so fake it wouldn’t have gotten a normal person into one of my varsity games mentioned above. I said, “you are holding that one, you are the only one it will work for.” Sure enough, he used it and there was not one problem.
It is December, which means it is time for his annual joke. “We saved $10,000 this year — we didn’t go to Asia.” The number never went up or down. I guess inflation doesn’t matter, it’s only a joke.
He played HORSE with Melissa shortly before she died — he never missed one of her events either. We even had a work around for double billings. CSG would have their track meets at Academy. Melissa’s events were first and last. My parents would see the two-mile race then walk to the baseball diamond to see my game then we would all walk back to the track to see her run the mile.
He says almost daily how lucky he is to have a wife like Elaine. It’s true. He “out punted his coverage” and was serendipitous in 1965 and he has been ever since.
Now it’s your turn. Tell the ones you love what you need to tell them or what you remember or what makes you laugh.