Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father’s Day!

What’s wrong with this picture?

This is my father, Walter S. Bralley. The picture was taken while we celebrated his 82nd birthday in August of 2001.

So, what’s wrong with this picture?

Nothing, except he passed away about 17 months ago and I haven’t written about him.

He was my best friend. I didn’t always realize that, but he was.

He was my greatest supporter and harshest critic.

He could lecture, but seldom did.

When he did, you knew exactly what he thought.

I think he knew all the swear words, but didn’t use any of them… he didn’t have to.

He had a command of the English language, but didn’t abuse it.

He could hold an opinion strongly, but didn’t try to force you from holding yours just as strongly.

When I started a professional life, his firm guidance of my youth changed to a coaching style.

When I got my master’s degree, his coaching seemed to come less frequently. He listened a lot more in the last years and I missed his input. He thought that his pre-World War II college education was overtaken by the modern world. It wasn’t and he functioned just fine in it.

He didn’t use a computer, but he wore out more than one typewriter. He had numerous friends around the world with whom he would regularly correspond.

He could hardly say the word love, but there was never any doubt that he loved each and every member of our family.

His greatest gifts were his time, wisdom, and example. He shared them freely.

I pay tribute to him, this father’s day, as I’m sure the rest of my family does. I speak for all of them when I say we miss him.

If your father is still with you, tell him how you feel about him, thank him for raising you, guiding you, being there and for throwing the ball back and forth, even if he’s 80.

If you are a father, hug your kids, even if they are 50.

If your father is gone, remember him and speak well of him.

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