Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nobody is humble anymore...except my Dad

This is my Dad, at his retirement party.  If you haven't deduced from the photo, yet, he likes food and fishing... and according to his boss, Becky, Miller Lite.

You know, there has been a lot of celebration lately with Tebow and all, and let me tell you, I am not impressed.

You know what does impress me, though, is 45 years of service to ONE company.  That's right.  You heard me.  My dad, Pat, or as I recently learned, his boss calls Patty, is retiring after FORTY-FIVE years of service to Ford Motor Company.  He is my HERO and if you knew him, or know him, he would be and is one of yours, too.  I am assuming your Dad, might eclipse him, even though your Dad probably has a cluttered resume with many line items under the heading EXPERIENCE.

I am swelling with pride for my Dad today, because they threw him a party at work to celebrate his service, and more importantly, his LOYALTY to Ford Motor Company.  No one really talks about loyalty anymore, and no one, if they do mention it, uses it in terms of their career or their companies.

I can only hope that Ford Motor Company will acknowledge the fact that a 65-year-old man raised two children and paid off a mortgage that in the beginning he thought that he could not afford, to send his children to better schools, which prepared them for college. So that they, in turn, could make even better lives for themselves, and clutter up their resumes.

One of my favorite memories of my Dad is the speech he gave at my rehearsal dinner.  Pat is a simple man, not in the sense that he is simple-minded, just that he is a man of few words, that actually thinks before he speaks, and when he does speak there is thought behind it.

Those are separate entities, you see, thinking and then speaking, and having thought about what you are saying before you say it.  The difference is, that it takes an intelligent person to think before they speak, but it takes a measured person to give thought to what they say.  Do you see the difference?  Wait.  Don't speak.  Just think about it for a while and then revisit it again, and then SPEAK.  That is Pat Schell.  He is not hasty.  He does not wait for you to finish your sentence, just so he can get a word in. 

You can deliver an entire soliloquy while he looks at you and then offers you something to drink and eat, and then maybe even an hour or maybe even say, a day later, he will give you his opinion.  But, if he does, it will be clouded with phrases like, "Hey, I may not know what I am talking about" or " you may want to just consider this" which is so gracious, it seems like it is simultaneously apologetic, but if you listen (which I didn't until I left for college, I'll be honest - I mean, what could this man possibly know, that would enlighten someone at the ripe old age of 18?) then there is real truth, that can only be obtained by experience and observation.

Do you know anyone like this?  I know a few, but my favorite is my Dad, and he is primarily the reason that I am who I am.  Don't get mad, Mom, my sense of humor and my style, in general, comes directly from you (unless you catch me early in the morning dropping my kids off at school in Brad's black socks, my pajama pants and a sweatshirt), but the sensible part of me, my conscience, comes from YOU, Dad, and although I do not always let that side of me SHINE, it is what drives me as a parent, which I strive to make the best part of myself.

I make mistakes, just like you made them, sometimes, Dad, because we are both human, but the essence of you, is ingrained in me and it is something that I really like about myself.  I think that I am real, Dad, because you are real.  You are always yourself.  I always know what I am going to get, and that is such a comforting thing for a child, and as an adult.

The speech you gave at my rehearsal dinner was the best speech I have ever heard, bar none, not because it was about me, or that it contained fancy language, or was delivered with bravado, but because it was eloquent.  It is not on video. The only documentation I have is my memory, so I can only paraphrase.

You talked about how you were mowing the lawn the day of my wedding, because it was going to rain, and that is what practical people do, when their grass is long and they have shit to do later, and it is going to rain.  You didn't say  the word shit, I know.  He's not a redneck, y'all.  That part I got from my cousins from Carrollton.

You continued that, as you were mowing the lawn, ( I need to reiterate) on my wedding day, you kept seeing still lifes of me growing up - the day I was born, coaching me at first base in softball, graduating high school (the girl next to me was 9 months pregnant, you and I had a good laugh about that later), leaving me in my dorm room my Freshman year in college, graduating college, and then my face when I got off the plane from Colorado to get married in Louisville that week.

You said that I always did what I set my mind to do, and that I was always successful, and you were proud of me for that.  You told everyone how glad you were to have Brad as part of our family, and you meant it...because you always mean it, and that is why your speech was so moving.

The man of few words is not the man who has the smallest vocabulary.  It is is the man who thinks about what he is going to say well before he says it, and then maybe thinks about it again.

I need to tell you that I did not think that my Dad would even make a speech at my rehearsal dinner, let alone the speech he gave.  So, now it is my turn to give the speech and I have thought about, and thought about, and this is what I want to say, you know, here, in my blog, which you don't know how to click on.

Well, maybe in your retirement, you can become more computer savvy, and reach beyond just emailing your picks for fantasy football, or posting on someone's wall on Facebook (yes, Pat Schell has a Facebook page, feel FREE to friend him, y'all, he's the one holding the fish in his profile pic from none other than Louisville, Kentucky) where he always starts, "Hey, so and so, this is Pat Schell," even though his name and picture are clearly evident next to his post, and then says something really thoughtful or nice.

I love you, Dad.  And this time, it is ME that is swelling with pride.  Last night, I was the one with still lifes running through my brain.  I thought of you taking me to the convenient store after softball practice to get (you) a tallboy Falls City beer and (me), a pack of Gatorade gum and a coke.

I recalled how you would make me go with you after work to "play nine holes" and bribed me with driving the golf cart.

I would feed you basketballs at our Swim Club at night, because you used to play basketball at Bellarmine College, and it was still in your blood.

I thought about how you would always greet every boy who came to the house to pick me up with a firm handshake and a "Hello, Son." and  then beckon him into our living room while you stared at him and asked him the details of the night he had planned.

I remembered the time you knocked on my bedroom door and told me not to see the guy who was calling from college, when I was in high school, because "guys away at college, who date high school girls, are only interested in ONE thing."  I dismissed this at the time, and snuck around for a while, but on some level, you permeated my sensible side, because he never got past first base, I swear.  He's my Facebook friend, Dad, I can prove it.

Anyway, I just want to leave you with a couple of quotes that I live by, that were the genius of my father's brain. 

"You can never trust someone who talks for a living... you know, a bullshitter....never trust a bullshitter... he makes money off of what he says, and not what he does."  CLASSIC

"Nothing good ever comes of losing your cool.  You may FEEL like you've won the argument because of what you have said, but no one ever listens to someone who has become emotional, because when you lose your cool, they only pay attention to HOW you are saying something, rather than what you have actually said."

"Sometimes you just have to fight it out.  It has just gotten to that point, where there needs to be a resolution."

I love you, Dad, and if you never learn how to access my blog, it just feels good to know that I have told the World how much I love you and how much you have contributed to my life and the lives I have created, and am surrounded with, as well.

Happy Retirement.  I am so looking forward to spending your Golden Years with you.  My loyalty lies with you and it is no longer your duty to be humble anymore.

Let's celebrate what an amazing career your have had.  I can't WAIT to see you next weekend!

1 comment:

  1. So nice! He has had a lot of great lessons to teach. They don't make people like they used to:o)