|Back: Grandpa Hawley, Sandy, Dad, Mom, Dave|
Middle: Cecelya, Grandma Hawley, Aunt Bertha Hawley, me
My/our father, Roger Hawley, died more than seven years ago and it seems like yesterday. We talked about families today in several of my classes and I find I am still discovering things about my parents. I wrote this three months before Dad passed away about influence he had I knew nothing of. I chose purple font, which matched at least half of the shirts in his closet. We miss you, Dad. I like this picture of Dad and the rest of us in front of our house at 809 East Avenue, York, Nebraska.
I'm in the middle of writing thank-you notes for Christmas. Santa was good to me again this year. My wardrobe improved significantly as I was the recipient of gift cards to Kohl's, Macy's, and Target as well as seven beautiful ties to accent my dress shirts at school. My sister-in-law, Karen, made sure I smell good with a gift set of Lucky You Cologne and related products. Aside from clothes and grooming, I was also blessed by several unexpected presents. An anonymous donor gave me a pre-paid cell phone, good through May or 140 minutes, whichever comes first. (My lovely niece, Karis, had to show me how it works.) Two days ago, during teacher in-service, Ben Johnson brought me another gift. This past summer, while on my Honduras mission, I roomed with John, a fellow Christian and successful businessman who also is from Houston although we attend different congregations. I mentioned that I was in such a rush in the morning that I just drink leftover coffee from the day before, often not bothering to heat it up. Apparently, that was a cause for concern in John's eyes and he had Ben, who worships with him, deliver a new coffee maker with an automatic timer. Now, I can program the aroma of percolating coffee to wake me up each morning. Sweet!
This was a tough Christmas for our family. Traditions were replaced by the realities of our parents' health issues. This has all come as a shock to me as I never conceived my mom and dad would grow old and get sick. The way we did the holiday season growing up is bygone although Dad has pledged that next Christmas will be a terrific one. I would guess he means he will shop once more and decorate a tree, a real one that comes from God's good earth. This was the first Christmas in my life that Mom and Dad did not give me a present. But that doesn't mean that they were uninvolved with the best gift of this most recent Yule. I was out exercising in the neighborhood my last full day in St. Louis when I ran into Debbie. I have seen her over the years: she's one of these addicted walkers who get their five miles in daily no matter what the weather, and it was about 15 degrees that afternoon. She stopped and asked about Dad. I knew she and my father had the acquaintance that fellow-walkers share but that was about it. Debbie told me she was praying for Dad and then she told me this: When her nephew was in trouble, Dad worked with him in counseling and helped him survive the situation. When Debbie's best friend, Peggy, lost her husband to cancer, my mom was by Peggy's side each step of the way and helped her navigate the grief. It was obvious my folks have had a profound impact on this lady's life ....and I had no clue. What she passed on to me on Hannah Avenue last week will stay with me long after the cologne has run dry and the ties have gone out of style. Her words will remain when my cell phone minutes have expired and my coffee maker won't percolate. She gave me the gift of insight into my Mom and Dad. I thought their story had all been written but apparently there are a few more chapters to go. I can't wait to read the next installment: I have a lot to learn.
Applicable quote of the day:
"The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines."
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