Just recently the coach of our local pro football team said the future Hall of Fame quarterback and former Patriot deserves more than just one night of appreciation, which will occur on opening day, September 10.
I am as big a sports fan as anyone, but I’m not into the undo adulation thing sports wraps its money-loving head around.
One is more than enough. Appreciation for playing a game and making obscene amounts of cash deserves a “night”? Simply put, no.
I can think of two people in my life who deserve a lifetime of “nights.”
My father-in-law, Pete, was a man who had a tough childhood, without the experience of a loving household. Yet, this man, who was father to seven children and was a devoted husband, worked countless hours each week to support them. He had major health problems, but that didn’t stop him. He died at the far-too-tender age of 44.
I missed meeting this wonderful man by less than two months. On New Year’s Eve of the year he died, he teamed up with the Lord to bring his daughter Denise and me together, and 45 years later, we still are. Pete deserves more than one night of appreciation.
The other is my dad, Larry. Another who had a difficult childhood, losing his mom when he was six years old, he went to an orphanage for a while, then when back at home, he worked — delivering weighty blocks of ice; delivering newspapers; working on a turkey farm and an apple farm. And he would walk several miles a day to bring his dad his lunch at a local factory.
He was in World War II aboard a destroyer that fought in the blistering heat of the South Pacific and the extreme cold of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. The enormous change in climate did a tune on his health.
He hid all the horrors he witnessed and experienced during the war until his dementia set them free.
He always worked, often jobs with bosses who demeaned him. I remember his being laid off in his 50s and he took a part time job pushing shopping carts at a local supermarket until he could get another job.
He always made sure my mom, brother and I had what we needed and once in a while, things we didn’t need.
Even when he retired, he helped out family, friends and neighbors with a plethora of chores and repairs.
Larry taught me so many valuable life lessons, some of which were the result of my selfishness, often causing him frustration and worry. I still rue those times.
His example taught me to be a good father and husband and worker. He unceremoniously died a shell of the man he always was, physically and mentally.
Larry deserves more than one night of appreciation. I can safely wager you all know one or more people in your lives who deserve a night of appreciation and more.
Athletes provide thrills and entertainment, but they get their appreciation during games and in their pay checks. It’s the folks who do what they’re supposed to do and more without fanfare or praise, who deserve to be recognized for what they truly are: true children of God. I stand up and applaud everyone of them.