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.