Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Halfway Through Life

I could have been born anywhere in the world. But on December 26th, 1972, I was born in Sanford, NC. I could have had parents that didn’t care about me, but instead I was born to Christian parents that loved me unconditionally since I entered this world. I was fortunate to have all 4 grandparents alive during my childhood. Papa Cameron passed away when I was in the 8th grade and Papa Brafford passed away in 2002. I also had 3 great grand-parents that lived until I was in college. I had aunts, uncles and friends all around me for support at all times. I could have been born anywhere in the world that day, but I was born into a nurturing environment where I always knew I was loved. In 1972, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the year at 1020, the average house cost $27,500, a gallon of gas was .55, and a person made about $12,000 per year! Things have certainly changed in 40 years.

Maria’s Aunt Ellen passed away November 24th of this year. She was 97 years old! What a long life to live and a good one she did at that. I thought about many of the things she saw in her life and it’s incredible to think about. But I have also seen a lot in my life. Many people around me often say that I have one of the strangest memories of anyone they know. I will ride to Wal Mart to pick up 5 things and forget 3 of them. But I can remember finite details from my life like they happened yesterday. I can remember where Mama’s room was in the Lee County hospital when Travis was born in 1977. I can remember being in the hospital in Chapel Hill when I was 3 years old. I can remember conversations I had with Deddy that I am sure he long forgot. I can remember before I even started school, Mema Cameron sitting at the kitchen table with me while I ate Corn Flakes and holding up pictures of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, John F. Kennedy, Columbus, Eli Whitney, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington etc. and asking me who they were and what they did? By the time I started kindergarten, I knew who each historical figure was and why they were important to U.S. History. As a child, every time I was really sick, Mema and Papa Brafford would come see me and Papa would bring me an orange.

Although Mama and Deddy were broke in 1982, we were one of the first kids to get an Atari! Its odd to think that it was mid 80’s before we started to get computers in schools and they were all Apple! There is a LOT more technology in one cell phone than those computers ever had.

I’ve seen a lot of people pass away in 40 years. It’s hard for me to believe how many classmates have already passed away. I can remember Deddy’s 40th birthday party like it was yesterday. If you would have told me then that when I turned 40, he would have been passed away 12 years, I would have thought you were insane.

I’ve also accomplished a few things in 40 years. It was an honor to be elected Student Body President my senior year of high school. Looking back, the person that would have been more impressed by scholastic accomplishments than anyone would have been Papa Cameron. He always wanted Travis, Marshall, Kevin, and myself to get as much education as we could and be involved with school. I thoroughly enjoyed playing baseball and basketball growing up. Some of my fondest memories are from baseball teams during the summers from Tee Ball through High School. I was fortunate to be a member of the Triangle 3A Champions varsity baseball team. Some of the best times I ever had were playing with all of those guys. Even though I was really awesome and nobody was as good as me.

Just getting into Carolina was a life long dream of mine and I loved every second I was there. The first couple of weeks I was there, I earned the nickname “K-Rob” and to this day, I still get phone calls and emails from friends that barely know my real name. Ironically, I could not have been there at a better time for Tarheel Athletics. The football team had a really good team and we won several bowl games. The basketball team was outstanding and to be at Carolina when they won the 1993 National Championship was euphoria! To be honest, many schools in the ACC had great teams and it was often like watching an All Star game in the Dean Dome. Although I have never been a big soccer fan, the women’s soccer team at Carolina was unbelievable while I was there. In the four years, they lost ONE game and won the National Championship every year. Mia Hamm led the team and she is arguably the best women’s soccer player ever. I was appointed to Chairman of the Ticket Distribution Committee with the The Carolina Athletic Association my senior year. So, I was in charge of getting the tickets from the athletic department and getting them to the students. In return, I had great seats to every single game. The day I graduated from Carolina was honestly one of the greatest days of my life. Almost everyone in my family was there. Maria’s entire family was there. We had a BIG crowd to come watch us graduate!

We’ve all experienced challenges in the last 40 years. The economy has had its highs and lows. We’ve gone from a country that was proud of the things we produced to a country that has a large portion of our goods manufactured in other countries. We’ve seen political offices go from positions of duty to represent the people, to career positions that often represent their party or themselves. There have been multiple tragedies over the last 40 years; numerous devastating hurricanes, deadly tornados, earthquakes, and a tragic tsunami in 2004. School children all across America were watching the Space Shuttle Challenger take off on January 18th, 1986 because it was accompanied by Christa McAuliffe, a school teacher from New Hampshire. Seconds after take-off, the Challenger exploded and the nation watched in horror as the entire crew was killed. September 11, 2011 will go down in history as one of the most significant tragedies of our lifetime. We were both devastated by the act of terror and united as “one nation under God” more than we had been in many years. Tragedies are always difficult to overcome, but they often make us stronger as time moves on.

I certainly have some regrets in life. I regret that I have not accomplished more at this point in my life. I regret that I did not get additional education beyond my four year degree. My biggest regret has been the loss of certain friendships over the course of life for different reasons. Life carries all of us in different directions; people move, graduate, have children, develop different interest, grow apart or simply circumstances change. Whatever the reason, it’s sad to think about certain people that I am not as good of friends with anymore. I regret that I never learned how to play an instrument. However, that is certainly a regret that I may be able work on in the years to come.

But I tell you what, I have a lot to be grateful for and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about that. I ask God for a lot in prayer, probably more than I should. But what I hope is that the second half of my life gives me an opportunity to do good things for others as they have been done for me. I hope that I am a good husband, although I will never be as neat as Maria would like me to be. I hope that I am a good Uncle not only to all of my nieces and nephews, but to everyone’s children, just like Uncle Boyd. I hope I will always be a good son to my mother, a good brother to Travis, a good grandson, a good nephew, and a good son-in-law. I hope that my Deddy knows that I have worked as hard as I could to look after my family. If I could pick one thing to do with the rest of my life, it would be to help as many people as I can around me and in my community. I would like to write a book. My life has been filled with so many stories, I think I can make that happen with some time and effort. We live in a world where money, power, and influence are the most important things to almost everyone. I’m not saying that’s right, I’m saying its just the way it is. But I learned a valuable lesson when Deddy died. He accomplished a lot in life in my opinion. He started out as a brick mason and when he passed away he was an entrepreneur. He built numerous houses and several small neighborhoods over the years, acquired a number of rental properties, and had really begun to diversify his business. However, when he died, the last thing anyone mentioned was his business accomplishments. All anyone cared about was how good of a person he was. I think at the end of one’s life, that is all that matters. I hope and pray that during the rest of my own life, I will be able to make it matter.

Monday, December 24, 2012

That's What Christmas Is All About Charlie Brown

I love this time of the year. I always have. However, the way I look at Christmas has changed a lot since I was a kid. Travis and I used to get up by at least 3:00 A.M. and we would not go back to sleep until the next night. We were always grateful for what we got and still have many of the toys we had growing up. As we got older, the “toys” we wanted got bigger. Both of us owe Mama and Deddy a LOT of gratitude for always making our Christmas so wonderful. Well, I was always good so Santa Claus rewarded me justly. However, Travis was always bad but he still got just as much as I did or more! I still truly enjoy the Christmas programs that come on. “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” to me is honestly the greatest cartoon ever made. I think we need Linus to go to a lot of places and straighten everyone out with his monologue. “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Story,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” etc. never grow old to me. I enjoy hearing Spring Hill’s cantata every year. I often watch Christmas concerts on TV believe it or not. I like to watch bits of the parades that come on TV. I love to see the Christmas decorations all over the place from people’s homes, to towns, to the malls. As I have traveled the country during the holidays the last couple of years, I have seen some awesome decorations. One thing I have really missed the last few years with all of my traveling has been putting up all the Christmas with Travis. I hope to get back to that one day. As I have grown older, my view of Christmas has evolved. I honestly just enjoy being around family and friends. I enjoy giving people gifts. It disappoints me when I can’t think of something awesome to get somebody. But as life grows longer, it’s harder to get someone an awesome gift every year. Now we have a niece and 2 nephews to get things for. It’s a great feeling to give a child a gift that they like. For my entire life, we have gone to Mema Cameron’s on Christmas Eve and Mema Brafford’s on Christmas morning. After Maria and I were married, we started going to Mr. and Mrs. Stewarts on Christmas Eve too. Those memories will be treasured forever. The years have gone by, both Papa’s have passed away, Deddy is no longer with us and Mr. and Mrs. Stewart both passed away. However, their memories live on and I believe the fact that we continue to get together honors their memories. I’ll never forget the last Christmas Deddy was with us. I did not give it enough thought but I never imagined he would not be here the next Christmas. Travis and I gave him a “Lionel” Train to put up in his office. Things happened so fast that year he never got the train up. We’ve never opened the box. The Christmas before he was sick, he had the first 2 rings that Mama ever gave him resized; the first one to fit me and the second to fit Travis. It was a wonderful gesture that means more to me the older I get. Christmas gives us a time to relax and reflect on the year. I love the fact that for a few days, most of the world takes a deep breath and pauses for while. Although there are a lot of bad things going on in the world on a daily basis, we all have a lot to be grateful for. Everyone should make a point to spend time with loved ones during Christmas. You just never know from one year to the next who will still be here. Friday night, we had the party of the year…”Uncle Boyd’s Christmas Party”. I start getting asked about this party usually in September. As the years have passed, the crowd may have changed slightly, but the core remains the same. A night to fellowship, playing some cards, a little ping pong, some darts, and hear about how awesome the Benhaven Bulldogs were years ago. Ironically, Uncle Boyd was made an honorary member of the Boone Trail Pioneer Club and presented with a coonskin hat! The part of Christmas that I love the most is the recount of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is truly the greatest story to ever occur and we should all be grateful that it did. If you haven’t read Luke 2; 1-14, I would encourage you to do that in the very near future. If you’re already read it, read it again. As I wrap up my Christmas blog, I would remind you all to say MANY prayers for the Sandy Hook community in Newton, Connecticut. That is a tragedy of epic proportions and it’s a whole other topic altogether. That town will never be the same but we can continue to pray for healing during such a tragically difficult time. I would like wish all of you and your families a wonderful and Very Merry Christmas. I pray that you are all blessed with peace and serenity during the Christmas season. And remember….“Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace, good will toward men.”……That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!!!

It’s Halloweeeeeeeen! Some of you may be shocked by this, but as a child I wanted to be the Devil for about 5 years in a row. Oddly enough, I was scared of monsters, goblins, ghosts, or anything else supernatural that might exist. Oh yeah, I didn’t like the dark much either! Quite often during around Halloween, you’ll hear ghost stories on the radio and television. I have always enjoyed hearing the stories. We have many stories in my own family that I thought some of you might enjoy. It may even send a few chills up your spine! When Mama found out she was pregnant, one of the most excited people in the family was my Great Papa Cameron. He was certain that I would be a boy and that I would be the KING! However, in October 1972, he had a massive heart attack and died. I was born in December a few months later. One night after I was born, Mama said she got up during the night to check on me and make sure I was warm enough. When she went to my room, she saw my Great Papa Cameron and another woman looking at me. She said she felt as if everything was fine and she went back to bed. The next day she was telling about it and of course she was ridiculed and everybody was laughing about it. She said that she even thought that maybe it was just a dream. A few days later, she was telling Mema Brafford about it and Mema asked her what the lady had on. When she described to her what the lady had on, Mema recognized the outfit. It was the same outfit that my Great Grandma Brafford was buried in. Mama and Deddy did not even know each other when Grandma Brafford died, so she had no idea what she was buried in. However, ironically, Great Papa Cameron and Great Grandma Brafford had been friends for many years before they both passed away. Mema Brafford grew up in a big family. She had eight brothers and sisters. All of them have long passed away and she is the only one left. Most of my life growing up as a child, it seemed like at least one of them was really sick. Seven of them passed away with cancer. She had a brother named Herman that lived in Sanford. He found out many years ago that he had cancer. During his last weeks, someone stayed with him all the time. One night Mema Brafford was staying with him and she said she woke up and saw her Mother, Father, and a sister walk into Herman’s bedroom. She could hear talking but she did not dare get up. She was not sure of what she had really seen or maybe she was just dreaming. The next day Herman told her about the visit. He told Mema that everything was going to be fine, they would be back to get him soon and when they did, an angel would come back as a white dove and guide him to Heaven. She did tell Mama and Deddy, but nobody else knew. After the funeral and the graveside service, many of the family members came back to Mema and Papa Brafford’s house. They were discussing the service and how smooth everything had gone. Then out of the blue, someone who was directly following the hearse said, “the strangest thing happened today, when we left the funeral home, a white dove flew back and forth between our car and the hearse all the way to the cemetery, and then it flew off!” Nobody ridicules that story anymore. My favorite ghost story is a “guardian angel” story and it had nothing to do with my family. Many years ago at a college somewhere in the southern part of the United States, 3 guys were planning their journey home for Christmas break. They had a long way to drive. Two of the friends lived in the northern Midwest and they were to drop off their other buddy, who lived somewhere along the way. After many hours of driving they finally arrived at the first guy’s house. They went inside, got something to eat, talked with the family and got some rest from their long drive. The family told the boys that a snow storm was on the way and they felt like they should stay with them overnight. This was before cell phones and at a time when you could drive for several hours before you would reach another gas station, another residence, or anywhere that they could stop. But they were determined to get home for Christmas and felt like they needed to keep going. The family reluctantly wished them safe travels and instructed them to call as soon as they arrived home no matter what time it was. Not long after the boys started home, it started snowing. It was not long that they both realized that this was a mistake and although they had been driving for more than an hour, they needed to turn around and try to get back to their friend’s house. By now, the snow was pouring down at an incredible rate. About the time they got their car turned around, they realized they were already stuck. So they left the car running and hoped that the storm would pass. After some time, they realized the snow was not letting up, they would run out of gas before the night was over, and this was probably the end for both of them. All of the sudden they saw lights and a man pull up in a big tow truck with huge snow tires. The guy got out and said, “Do you boys need a lift?” They could not believe it. They are in the middle of nowhere, and a tow truck pulled up. This was truly a stroke of good luck! The guy has the car hooked up in just a couple of minutes and asks “Where are you boys headed?” They explained to him what had happened but their buddy lived at least an hour back. The gentleman explained that it was no problem because he was already going that way! Upon arrival, the boys continued to thank the man for saving their lives. They tell him they don’t have hardly any money, but their friend’s family would probably loan it to them until they returned from Christmas break. The man explained to them that it was no problem either way, he was glad to help. So the boys rush up to porch where the family has come out to greet them again after worrying about them since they had left. They told the boys that loaning them the money was no problem and in fact, they could HAVE the money. After a few minutes, the father returned from a back room and tells them to not only pay the man but to invite him inside, he was welcome. But when the boys went outside, the tow truck was gone and their car was sitting there where he had left it. But the amazing aspect of the story is that there was not a single track in the snow where the man would have pulled away. Not a trace that another vehicle had ever driven into that yard. They realized right then that this was not a stroke of good luck, this was a miracle. Hey, Happy Halloween to all of you! And don’t forget to watch “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” tonight on ABC!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I really like the show “Intervention”. It is both dramatic and idiotic at the same time. I think the show fascinates me because people will let a vice or an addiction take priority over everything in their life; over their job, their church, their family, their children, their friends. With shame, I must admit that out of complete frustration with some of the people on that show, I often find myself having very little sympathy. I have asked Travis several times to inquire about getting me on that show and he says that he does not think that occasional outburst of angry words, saying things at inappropriate moments, or addiction to Coca Cola would get me on the show. One of the things I see in this world that breaks my heart the most is when someone no longer cares about anything around them. I think someone like that truly has a lost soul.

My father comes to mind when I watch “Intervention”. Not because he had a vice, but because nothing was more important to him than not letting something stupid interfere with the aspects of his life that were important; Mama, Travis, me, his mother and father, his mother-in-law, his brothers and all the rest of his family. His job was never compromised in any way by an addiction. He never missed a ball game because he wanted to sit at home and drink beer. He never let his family down because he wanted to party. A party for Deddy as he grew older consisted of him, Uncle Boyd, Sammy, and Randy sitting around our garage or down at Sammy’s talking. That was the party. There is so much in this world that a person can offer, and many people do. I think we often dismiss just how important you can be to someone else. You may be the best Tee ball coach, best teacher, best Sunday school teacher, best waitress, or the best “anything” to someone for the remainder of their life. But you should also keep in mind as different situations occur, that you can also be the worst of something.

For the most part, we all want to do something in this world to make a difference. Of course, we can’t all be something that is publicly awesome, but that does not mean that what you are to the people around you is not just as important. Every one of you reading this has made a difference in this world to someone. I truly believe that if people had more regard for each other and respected each other’s differences, the world would be a much better place. I honestly think that many of our problems in society stem from judging others. Don’t get me wrong, I believe each person is entitled to an opinion, but I think we often forget that everyone else has the same entitlement.

For many of us, the idea of truly disappointing the people we love the most is a considerable fear. My mother and father could have punished me anyway they wanted when I was growing up and I could live with it. However, if I thought they were disappointed in me, it grieved me severely. I was accused one time of doing something that I didn’t do in the 8th grade. It worried me so much that it made me physically sick, even when I was admonished of the wrongdoing. I had Linda Graves in the 8th grade and I thought she was never going to like me again. She came and got me out of my first period class the next morning and talked to me in private. Even though she was standing there telling me that everything was OK and to stop worrying so much, I could not even look at her. Twenty-five years later, that moment in my life still chokes me up. On a lighter note, I also had Mrs. Ralston in the 8th grade and I could do nothing wrong according her. I could have shot a classmate with a taser gun and she would have said they deserved it. The best of what someone does with their life is remembered more than anything else. Often, the best of someone’s life varies depending on who you ask. Deddy was never a famous person, nor was he wealthy. He never held a political office, nor did he have a job that was considered “prestigious”. However, he was great to many people at a lot of things. The “Bears” or “Calvins” could not have had a better T-Ball or Little League coach 30 year ago. He was a great son dedicated to his mother and father. He was a wonderful brother and in an instant he could point out the BEST qualities in each of his brothers. He was an absolutely great friend, always there when someone was down in any way or needed advice. More than anything else, he was the best father Travis or I could have ever had. But if you asked me if one attribute was most significant of my father, it would be his compassion. He was able to forgive people as much as anyone I have ever been around. Someone could live like a deranged pirate for years and Deddy could still find good in them if they decided to turn their life around.

Twelve years ago today, September 13th, 2000, Deddy passed away at 1:30 in the afternoon. Its odd holding your father’s hand as he passes away. I used to think of it as the end of his life, but now I think of it as the beginning of his eternity. For almost all of us, we may never do one thing that makes a difference to the entire world. But you can make a difference to your family, friends, and community. For Deddy, that was the entire world.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

For several years now I have been writing a blog about things in my life or significant events occurring in the world. Most of the time, the blogs are directly related to me or my family. I don’t write the blog because of all the fame and fortune that comes with it, I do it because I enjoy it. But in the recent months, a number of very serious situations have taken place in our community and I felt compelled to write about them. Maria and I have been together for a long time. We started dating right after WWII. Growing up in Harnett County, we have always had “communities”. Over the years, many of those communities have blended together. Things have certainly changed over the years. Rival high schools have merged together to become one, the population has grown to where you no longer really know where one area ends and another begins. But overall, one of the greatest attributes of our area is still a sense of community. To me, that is one of the proudest aspects of living in our area. Over a month ago, Allison Upchurch went into the hospital because she was having some medical concerns. After an evaluation, initial test indicated several signs that she may have had Multiple Sclerosis. Further evaluations have indicated that it is another illness. Regardless, within weeks, Allison’s situation had become very serious. She spent many weeks at Duke University Medical Center and has now been moved to a recovery facility in Atlanta, Georgia. I have to be quite honest, I have known Allison for many years, but I do not feel like I know her that well. However, she and Maria have been very good friends their entire lives. You can tell by all of the compassionate postings online that she is dearly loved by so many people and she has an infinite number of very best friends. She comes from a family that has always been very involved in their “community”. Her mother Faye and her aunt Kay are twin sisters. They married brothers, Benny and Durwood….they are not twins. Faye and Kay have another sister named Libby. This family is always everywhere that is important to their community. When something happens, good or bad, you can rest assure that Kay, Faye, and Libby will show up. The whole family have been members of Spring Hill United Methodist Church for many years. Her sister Angie has been right by her side through this entire ordeal. She married Bradley Smith and they have two wonderful children, Logan and Conner. I just can’t say enough about how wonderful her family is. About a month ago, Janice Harrington started having problems with her vision. After further evaluation, it was determined that she had a mass that was pressing on her optic nerve. It was also discovered that she has breast cancer. I have known Janice since she was a teacher and I was a student at Benhaven. But I have really gotten to know her over the years while Maria and I have dated. It has always been known that Janice was extremely tender hearted. She has been that way as long as I have known her. But honestly, she has been as tough as anyone I have ever seen as she faces her situation. She had surgery this week and the surgeons were very encouraged with the results. More than anything else I have seen from Janice is how strong her faith is. I think it’s a testament to everyone around her that she has such a determined and faithful attitude. Spring Hill is a church that is extremely committed to “community”. I have been going there since Maria and I were married. The members are loyal to the church, loyal to the community and they always rally around people going through difficult situations. When my father died, I don’t know how many plates of food, coolers of ice and drinks, condolence cards, etc that my family received from people in that community and Spring Hill Church. There are a lot of people in the church and in the community that are going through hard times financially, physically, and probably spiritually. But you can rest assure that the people of Spring Hill are faithful to God, they trust in the Lord Jesus, and they support each other with everything they have. I had started writing this blog a few weeks ago. Tonight, Spring Hill United Methodist Church had a prayer service. Pastor Terry Williams and Benny Oakes led the service and ironically, the mention of faith within our “community” was mentioned many times. After the service, I was talking to Benny and he spoke about how impressed he was with the faith of the people of Spring Hill. Allison’s situation is certainly serious. Janice’s situation is certainly serious. There are others too that are also going through very difficult times. Delano Holder, Bertie Butler, and Kathy Patterson are just a few more people dealing with health issues. But I hope they all know and their families know that on a constant basis, I hear people talking about praying for all of them. With all that is going on in the world, the people that need us the most are the most important people to all of us. It’s also worth noting that Allison or Janice’s situation could happen to any of us at any given time. That is the reason I wanted to write this particular blog. I want people to know about Spring Hill and how wonderful the community is. As this community has prayed for other communities and people all over the world, it needs everyone’s prayers and support. So my hope is that this particular blog will get circulated as much as possible. I hope you read this and take the time to put Spring Hill on the prayer list at YOUR church, wherever that may be. I encourage you to commit specific time each day to pray for the people in your own community that need it. Pray at youth meetings, pray at circle meetings, pray in your car riding down the road by yourself. Just pray. God has a plan, and I can’t think of anyone less worthy than myself to start discussing what I think God’s plan is. But he has a plan. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, especially in groups. Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." So, here is what I ask you to do. You send this link to as many people as you can think of and ask them to do the same. I honestly don’t care how you do it…copy it, cut and paste it, or whatever means you may want to use. But let’s make every effort to send out prayers for everyone that we can think of that needs prayer sent their way at this time.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Essence of Success

"Successful is the person who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; Who has gained the respect of children; Who leaves the world better than they found it; Who has never lacked appreciation for the Earth's beauty; Who never failed to look for the best in others and who always gave the best of themselves" This past week I saw a picture circulating of Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Michael Jordan. The picture clearly indicated how much more accomplished Michael Jordan was than Kobe and Lebron have been combined. We all know that Jordan is the best basketball player to ever live and when you see him in the middle of all of his trophies, its an impressive sight. It reminded me of a picture that we took of Deddy not long before he passed away. All of his awards, trophies, and honors placed around him was quite impressive. But the thing about his awards that I find most impressive is that for him, they were more than just recognition for accomplishments, they were memories of how full his life was. Deddy was voted the MVP in Baseball for Harnett County his Junior Year in High School. He won championships in T-Ball, Little League, and Junior League as he coached Travis and I for many years. About 2 months before he died, he was voted into the NC Hall of Honor for his work with the recreation department over many years. But these accomplishments only scratch the surface of my father's dedication. He used to work every day, come home, grab something to eat and off we would go. I don't know how many miles he drove over the years picking up other kids, but it had to be to the moon and back. Then he would coach all evening. For many years, he coached Travis' team and my team. Those had to be LONG days. And he didn't just coach for his two boys, he coached for all the kids that played for him over the years. He coached many of the kids so many years, I think many of them grew to see him as much more than just a coach. From time to time, I'll see someone that I played ball with and they will always mention Deddy. Not a day goes by that I do not think of my father. Although he did not live to see his 49th birthday, the life he lived during the time he was here was remarkable in many ways. I think some people get caught up in their accomplishments. It would be easy to get caught up in the idea that recognitions or awards reflect what type of person you are, but they don't. What gives awards credibility is the time, effort, and heart one puts into what they do. Deddy liked to win, and he did not like to lose, but he was satisfied with the outcome as long as he felt like everyone tried as hard as they could. There were many times when something did not turn out as I had hoped, and Deddy was always there to offer advice and encouragement. The last several years have been challenging for me in many ways. I can't tell you how much I wish I could have talked to him on many occassions. At my lowest points in life, he was always there to give me advice and help me to see a brighter day. Travis and I both had challenging times during our college years but to Deddy, failure was not an option. I contemplated taking a semester off my sophomore year at Carolina but he encouraged me to stick with it. Actually, it went more like this: "Deddy, I'm thinking of taking this semester off".....Deddy: "And do what?" Me: "I don't know, work?" Deddy: "No. Son, if you take a semester off, you might decide not to go back. You have worked your whole life for the opportunity to go to Carolina. Are you passing ONE class?" Me: "Yeah, I'm passing all of them. I'm actually doing fine but Statistics is incredibly difficult" Deddy: "Well, if you are passing all of your classes, you're not coming home. That's it." Honestly, I had felt so overwhelmed during that time that I did not know what to do. But after I had that conversation with him, I felt like a ton of rocks had been lifted from me. I don't really know why, because he basically forbid me to do what I thought I should do at the time. It was just his nature and reassurance that renewed my determination and confidence. Deddy commanded respect even though he was not forceful by nature. I think more than any awards or recognitions of achievement, what Deddy earned most in his life was respect. One of my friends was explaining to another friend one time why he understood my rationale for making every effort NOT to get into trouble. He said, "Have you seen Grizzly Adams?...Imagine him angry and on crack! That would be Robbie's Deddy if he got in trouble" I am so grateful that I had him for a father and its my prayer this Father's Day that he knows that. I hope all of you have a wonderful Father's Day. Enjoy time with your father while you can, because you never know when that opportunity will no longer exist. If you are a father, enjoy time with your children and make every effort to remind them that you will always be there for support. I had this picture framed with the "Essence of Success" under it and gave one to Travis and kept one for myself. Everytime I look at it and read it, I am reminded of just how successful Deddy was in the time he was here.