The Richest Man in Town...
How much for a big belly laugh?
It sure is a crazy world sometimes, Dad. It sure is.
I miss watching Andy Griffith with you and hearing you laugh at Barney Fife's high-jinx.
It's December 23. Twenty-three means a lot to me. You were 23 years older than me. You and Mom were married on December 23, 1960.
So it seems fitting to write something to you today. How about a letter? I used to love writing letters to you and receiving letters from you. I never knew what I was gonna get, but you always could make me laugh, Dad. You were also so extremely talented that I was in awe of your artistic abilities.
Dad, you were the artist that I admired and shook my head in wonder at when looking at your work. You were also the guy I could talk to about nearly anything. I could talk to you about "what if's" and eternal possibilities that I couldn't discuss with anyone else. You were a friend. I didn't even realize how much that meant to me while it was happening, but it is infinitely clear now.
At least we HAD those conversations. At least I knew both sides of you. You were talented and ambitious, but also a deep thinker with a killer sense of humor.
You spread a lot of sunshine with your art. That is your legacy. You barely made a dime, but I think that was just marketing and management. Who knows, I may follow in your footsteps nearly step for step, but you know what? I'm making peace with that.
There's so much to learn in this world of get-ahead-at-all-costs. What's "ahead" anyway, Dad?
When will I know that I'm getting "ahead?" How does anyone know? Dad help me explain, and help me know it myself, please.
We come here. We do what we do. "Don't let your song go unsung." "Don't die with your dance inside you." People rarely say that it doesn't matter if you just dance for yourself once in awhile. Sing your song at the top of your lungs - to make YOU happy! Try it. Applaud yourself once in awhile!
Did you know that unless you think you are worth attention - you won't get any from others? Deep down, I'm talkin' about.
Most of us aren't Barney Fife's. We don't have "delusions of grandeur" about ourselves. We actually most often feel very insecure and doubtful of our worthiness.
My dad had to have known that he was a great artist. But when I asked him to stay, not move away, because I knew his health could not take it, he said to me, "I didn't know you loved me that much."
Were you kidding me, Dad?
I know you weren't kidding, because there were tears in your eyes. We both cried.
Sometimes we make our stupidest decisions in life because we don't think anyone really cares about what we do anyway.
Yet one person can be that very special person that has a singular way to help you - in a way that no one else possibly can. It may just be their laugh. It may just be the way they see you. Maybe no one else notices the way you try to put a little extra flair in the way you dress. That one person who notices - Ah! What a gem.
Do you ever stop and look in the mirror and turn off that voice that says, "Oh I look older." "Hate my hair today," or "Wish I still had some..."
Why isn't there a mirror for how much you mean to somebody else?
My dad was so beaten down emotionally throughout his life, that I didn't even realize that he would think to ask my daughter, "Would you cry if I died?"
I hope you are counting the tears, Dad.
If tears were pennies, you would be a very, very rich man!
How many of us don't begin to realize how much we mean to others, how important our mere presence is, even if we can't draw or sing or dance?
Our song may be a smile. Our dance may be pacing the floor waiting for our teenager to get home after a party. Our art may be the world of love we create for someone who holds us very dear.
So by all means, do what you LOVE in life. Go for your dreams! And while you do, please remember that you inspire dreams in those who love you. They would miss your laugh, and are more thankful for you than they probably take the time to say.
You are very, very rich.
Take this knowledge into the New Year, and please - know that you are deeply LOVED.
For you, Dad - on December 23...
Love isn't really free. When you lose a loved one from this world, the vast bill comes due...and you find that they are worth every tear. ~h~
Yes, Dad, I LOVED you that much! Thank you for everything.