Friday, October 21, 2005

In Celebration

Today we celebrate the life of the greatest man to influence my life and the lives of many others. My father, who died unexpectedly just a little over a year ago, was a man of enormous stature--not only physically, but spiritually, and in heart and love. There is absolutely no way I can tell anyone who didn't know him just how wonderful a man he was. His love for his family was strong and total. His love for his wife was...legendary. If all women were loved like that at some point in their lives, this would be one amazingly happy planet. He was absolutely besotted with his family of girls, and then his daughters' children, one for each of us, a grandson and a granddaughter.

His name was Zane, and I loved him with a ferocity, and miss him more than I ever could have imagined possible. He was my Dad. If you'd like to join me in celebrating the life of this remarkable man, then do one, or more, or all, of the following things:

*Pray for someone who has mistreated you.
*Perform an act of service for someone who needs it, and expect nothing in return.
*Watch the German film, "Das Boot". Preferably the Director's cut, all 209 minutes.
*Smile genuinely at everyone you see for an entire day.
*Make up ridiculous lyrics to popular songs, and sing them loudly.
*Thank God for the blessings in your life.
*Thank God for the tribulation in your life.
*Reach out to someone who is going through a hardship that you yourself have endured, even if it is painful for you.
*Speak the phrase, "I hope I don't get crazy and fall in that cactus!" to a complete stranger. This is most effective in the waiting room of a doctor's office.
*Watch the entire mini-series (available on DVD) "Shaka Zulu."
*Make an anonymous donation that will help people in need in your neighborhood/town.
*Whether referring to the cartoon or the fried chicken franchise, pronounce "Popeye" as "Pie-Pie".
*Embrace a child, and feel its goodness in every part of your heart and soul.
*Lean in and tell someone conspiratorily, "Confuscious say, 'Man who fly upside down have crack up'." An acceptable alternative would be, "Man with hole in pocket feel cocky all day."
*Share your chair with a good dog.
*Play cards with friends or family. Utilize these crucial phrases during the play of others: "Think long, think wrong," "Are you sure about that?" and most importantly, "UP jumped the devil!" This last should accompany any trumping or winning play of your own. At various points in the game, slap a card to your forehead, so that it sticks (its face to your face), while you wait for others to make their play. Make clear the insinuation that no matter what they're about to do, the card on your head will slaughter them all. Be right.
*Tell your entire family exactly how much they are loved.
*Startle a loved one half to death, by whatever means is most effective. In the aftermath of their shock, look innocently surprised, and say, "Look out, now!"
*Show your family through your deeds exactly how much they are loved.
*Prepare a giant portion of a favorite food, preferrably ice cream, which you will refer to simply as "cream." When onlookers are astonished at the size of the portion, look shocked and say, "A monkey could eat it." When people look at you in confusion, simply explain, "Well, I'm a LOT bigger than a monkey!" Upon finishing your dish, lean back, groan, smile, and say, "I feel sooooo unneccessary!" as if that makes sense.
*Most of all, make certain that you are available for hugs, love, and support at all times. Never miss an opportunity to warmly embrace one that you love.
*Leave everyone with absolutely NO DOUBT about who you were, how well you loved, and that God's love shone through you.


  1. What an absolutely wonderful tribute. The list of things to do was so... well, funny. It shows how much he meant to you, and how much you loved him, that you can memorialize him with humor...

    I'm going for a few of these - that ice cream thing sounds like a winner, and Monday while I'm at the doctor, I'm definitely making the cactus comment.

    I simply adore random acts of funniness that no one else quite gets but leave you yourself rolling.

    Hope that today was the perfect balance of nostalgia and laughter.


  2. Will you PLEASE stop making me cry? My effexor megadose hasn't kicked in yet and I'm very weepy. You're so lucky that you felt so keenly about your father. My father died 3 years ago and there isn't a kind thing I could say about him. Not one.

    Your list is great. So much of it I do on a daily basis, so I'm feeling pretty happy that maybe my kids will stop being embarassed by me and one day write lovingly about me, too.

  3. Totally wonderful. Erin, having known Belinda personally for quite a few years, and going on quite a few road trips together, I've heard first-hand many such stories about her dad. Most or all of the things on that list are tangible examples of things that Zane did in his life, and the cactus comment, the first time I heard it, totally cracked me up as well!
    Margalit, I empathize with you, I feel the same about my father as you do, although mine is still living. I truly wish that we had a better relationship, even one just one trillionith as good as what Belinda had with her father.
    I still have hope for that, and it surely hurts me, and my kids I know.
    Belinda, I wish you peace in dealing with the great loss you and your family has suffered.

  4. Thank you, Michelle. You know how very much he meant to me, and how he took care of me (LONG after he was "supposed" to). I wish you could have gotten to know him better. You remember Kerri, of course--with Mick (BC) and Kelsey (Lab mix)? Once when I was putting in a load of hay, Dad had driven the flatbed to help get it loaded, and Kerri was here, just hefting those bales off the trailer like it was nothing, all 92 pounds of her (For those of you who don't know, a well-formed bale of hay weighs, well, a LOT. Some of them probably as much as Kerri.) That little bitty toot is TOUGH, always has been, and stronger than you'd ever guess. I think she really caught Dad off-guard that day with her hay-tossing prowess, and from then on he frequently referred to her as "Herculite."

    It is good to have things to laugh about. I watched the memorial video today for the first time since the funeral. I still cried all the way through it, but I noticed that this time I was also smiling, and the tears that welled up in my heart were coming from remember how very much he loved us all, not from raw grief at his loss.

  5. Great memories, Belinda. I identify with Margalit somewhat. I try to remember my dad for the good things, but also just realize how messed up he was. It's been about as long, too. Thanks for sharing the funny memories. It sounds like you really loved him.

  6. Like you could not imagine, I loved him. I'll see him again, as you know, and I look forward to that. I would like to live up to his legacy in my time on this earth, but those are BIG shoes.

    And in realizing how lucky I was to have what I had, I find the pain of loss is ameliorated in some small way.

    I remember how he would do anything to stop me from crying, and I know it would break his heart to see me continuously crying over him...he would never want to make his "baby girl" sad. So I need to think of how he has just gone on ahead of us a little, and look forward to the reunion.

    I had a miscarriage 3 months after Dad died, and the single thing that comforted me about that was knowing that I was sending him another grandchild.

  7. What a beautiful post.. it sounds like your dad was an amazing man.

    I actually own the director's cut of "DasBoot" with subtitles (one of my all-time faves), and I'll be glad to watch it again for your pop... :-)


  8. Awww! That would be great. He LOVED that movie, and I do too. He and Mom first saw it in the theater, and then I got him the director's cut as a gift, and there's no telling how many more times he watched it. He was fascinated by submarines and warplanes...he was in the Army--wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force, but they told him he was TOO TALL. He wouldn't fit in the cockpits! I can just imagine how long he'd have lasted in a submarine before going buggy.

    I'll be watching Das Boot this weekend, and if I can find the entire set of "Shaka Zulu" somewhere, that one too. Netflix has it, but it's in several discs, and I want to watch it all at once.

  9. A gentle giant. That's what comes to mind in the picture of him holding your daughter on his tractor. And also of him with both grandkids on your lap. My dad died 12 years ago this November & I still miss him terribly.

    *Speak the phrase, "I hope I don't get crazy and fall in that cactus!" to a complete stranger. This is most effective in the waiting room of a doctor's office."
    I think I'm going to do this while in the waiting room at my psychiatrist's office. I'll let you know how long they commit me for!

  10. Jane, you are astute. That is exactly what we called him. To be so big and strong, his hands were so gentle and precise. There was nothing clumsy or rough about him.

    If there is no cactus in the area (in the original scenario that this actually happened, there was--a big one), you might have to change it to "a" cactus. That's even better, because then you're just speaking in insane generalities.

  11. Belinda, thanks for the great memories, the laughs, and the good cry. I miss him so much...

  12. What a wonderful tribute to your dad, was he a great & expressive writer too?
    It is so evident how many lives he touched and how he lived life to the fullest. I will definitely pay tribute through one of the many cool/witty/loving things he did.

  13. Um, I believe the original quote was, "Give me that, Herculite." It still cracks me up.
    Belinda never mentions in her post how good a job Zane did taking care of her friends, too. The Hankins family has lived in Jacksonville forever. I moved there after pharmacy school, so I didn't know the town well. How many times did I head to the office, park in MY parking place (for those of you who haven't seen Belinda's office parking lot, there's some creative parking goin' on when I show up, my place isn't exactly marked by little white paint lines), and ask Zane, "So who's our plumber, air conditioner guy, mechanic, etc? Zane always had a "guy" and the guy always did a good job fixing my broken stuff.


  14. I think I will probably read this post 100 more times - and still get teary every time. I haven't seen my dad in 23 years. "Attentive" was not a word anyone would ever use to describe him, and it's just so heart-warming to see that father's come in a size "wonderful" too.

  15. That is a lovely post - I think your advice to let those you love know it, is beautiful. Life is fragile, we shouldn't be spectators.

  16. I'm so glad you pointed me to this. You did a fab job ofgiving details that made me feel like I knew him!

    Great post.