Tag Archives: Herd

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Okay, I lied.

It seems like I do have something important to say today.

I’m just stopping by for a quick shout out to my dad, my namesake and the big dude who taught me everything he knows — but not everything I know — about how to be a dad. Sometimes he did it by setting an example, and sometimes he did it by showing me what not to do.

Either way, I learned more from that man than I could have from a library full of books.

He taught me that if it was important to his son that he coach in sports, then he took the time off his job to be there for his son and coach whatever sport was in season. Dad coached me in tackle football, baseball, basketball, just about everything I ever wanted to play. When I made the school track team in shot put and discus and the mile relay, it was my dad who took me aside and showed me how to do it all.

He taught me that you didn’t have to go along with the herd, even if you wanted to achieve the same goal as it did. He’s a doctor, but he didn’t undergraduate major in anything science-y. He majored in English because he enjoyed it.

He’s also the man who showed me the value and the warmth of a real Hawaiian shirt with the wooden buttons. My wife, known to me as She Who Must Not Be Allowed Near My Closet With Anything Remotely Sharp, might not like them, but I love my Hawaiian shirt collection.

He’s also the man who brought home the first science fiction/fantasy book I remember reading. It was the middle book in a trilogy, but I was hooked for life. He set me on a path toward some exceedingly strange places, that I’m so very glad I found. He nurtured my love of reading and words and creating with them and I can’t thank him enough.

He’s also the man who helped shape my sense of humor. So, yeah, he’s the one you can blame.

Thanks, Dad, for being such a great mentor, teacher, coach and cheerleader all rolled up into one dad-sized package that kept pushing, prodding and questioning, all the while letting me know I was loved no matter what I did, as long as what I did made me happy.

Happy birthday!

Before I go, though, answer me one question: Who’s on first.

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Happy Mother’s Day

by Richard

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

For a couple of reasons. 1) Everybody else does and I love very few things more than going against the herd. 2) I prefer continuous small changes as opposed to one large change. I think it’s easier to achieve your goals that way.

However, today, Mother’s Day 2012, I make one resolution.

I resolve to stop crying and getting all weepy and waily when I think of my mom, Catherine Stedman Jones, who passed away a little over a year ago from a bizarre fight with meningitis and multiple sclerosis.

Don’t get me wrong. I still miss the dickens out of her. I still find myself halfway through punching in her phone number, all ready and excited to tell her about some silly thing or other that would have tickled her funny bone. To me, she was the indestructible woman, who kept getting dinged, but kept going.

She had a trick, you see. When something got her down, whether it be her breast cancer, the multiple sclerosis that held her back from doing some things she wanted (but which I think she secretly put up with because it gave her something to fight), or any of the other things that tried so hard to drag her down. . . When she started getting weepy and waily, she’d say something along the lines of, “I’m going to give myself another day to feel all weepy, but then I’m done.”

And, you now what? She pretty much was.

She didn’t believe in self pity. She didn’t believe in being selfish that way. Sure, something might be sad, but that was no reason for her to keep focusing on herself when there was so much else she could be doing.

So I’m going to honor her by imitating her.

I figure fifteen months is enough with the grieving. It’s time to start thinking about the good things, about the smiles and the laughs and the way she’d snicker when she told a dirty joke. (And, dude, she told some bad ones. I still can’t decide whether to be embarrassed or just deny I ever knew her when those get brought up.)

It’s time to get out into the world and do something good for someone else.

It’s time to start looking for the good in people, even those people I can’t stand.

It’s time to smile more.

It’s time to tell my young dudes I love them and will support them no matter what.

It’s time to get on with living my life.

And that’s the best gift any mother could give to her child. She taught me how to go on.

Now it’s time to celebrate the living mothers out there. To Tia, who’s raising a wonderful niece and nephew, while still housebreaking a stubborn brother-in-law. To Grandma, who’s still got time for travel and the dispensation of advice while planning her wedding. To Susan, who’s never too busy running a huge blended family to take a bit of time to enjoy the sunset.

But, mostly, to She Who Must Be Obeyed, for living and learning and loving, loudly.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all! And to all a good night!

Oops. Sorry. Wrong holiday!

Although, you know. . . Mothers. . . Nights. . . Reflecting on how they became mothers. . . Maybe wishing them a good night isn’t such a bad idea, after all.

Enjoy the day, ladies. And the night.

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