Sunday, December 10,
Daddy and Mother,
I’m sitting here thinking about coming home for Christmas and the wonderful time we’re going to have and got to thinking about all the great times we’ve had in the last 50 years. Then I started thinking about what you want, Daddy – for your kids to conduct your farewell party. One thing that struck me was the fact that I haven’t told either of you "thank you" enough for being such wonderful parents, teachers, and friends. I don’t want to have that hanging over me, but it’s almost impossible to put into words.
How do you thank someone for all the great values that were instilled in all of us from day one? You taught us the things in life that are really important – God, family, friends, and music. You taught us how important it is to always be honest, no matter the consequences. I don’t know any other parents in this world who could convince their kids that having a bar of soap and an empty thread spool was just as cool if not cooler than that bottle of liquid and wand to blow bubbles with.
But we sure grew up knowing that we had the upper hand on the other kids! Daddy, thank you for the slightly cracked sense of humor – it has been one of my best traits, as scary as that may seem. Mother, thank you for the gift of music – one of the greatest gifts on God’s green earth. And thanks for traveling all over the countryside to hear some kids sing in a quartet, something a lot of parents wouldn’t have had the time to do.
And thank you for your sensitivity, Mother. As you know, some think I may be too sensitive for my own good, but that too is a trait that I cherish. Thanks for wonderful grandparents – you two had the second best parents in the world, right after ours. And thanks for always letting us sit in your laps, even when we were too big or old to do so by most people’s standards.
Thanks for letting us partake of goodies (coffee, cookies, pies, etc.) at your parents' houses that we couldn’t have at home – I now know that it was a way to make visiting them more special, even though it would have been just as special anyway.
And I should thank you for having enough “left of center” kinfolk that make me seem almost normal – I’d hate to be the standard bearer for that all by myself. :-) Thanks for teaching us by example that giving is maybe one of the greatest gifts of all – to this day that is one of the best feelings ever and we all came by it honestly.
Thanks for giving me great brothers and sisters, the best any little fellow ever had. I am truly blessed. I have no doubt that I have left out many things, but know how much I love and appreciate both of you. You really are the greatest parents this world has ever known!
Here's the video of Ted's mom, Oleta, reading the above letter at his funeral:
(cue over to the 4:30 min. mark)
Back to the welcome page for Ted's memorial website