A Tale From A Deathbed

jon dawson

Photo Credit: Jon Dawson via CC Flickr

Every once in a while, I come across a story that touches my heart, brings a smile to my face and a giggle to my soul. Such is the case with today’s story. 

Doug Smithberger is on his deathbed at Allegheny General Hospital and knows the end is near.

 

His nurse, his wife, his daughter and 2 sons are with him.

 

He asks for 2 witnesses to be present and a camcorder be in place to record his last wishes, and when all is ready he begins to speak:

 

My son, “Bernie, I want you to take all the West End houses.””

My daughter “Sybil, you take the apartments over in the Bottoms and up toward Neville Island.””

 

My son, “Jamie, I want you to take the offices and apartments over in Neville Island and Coraopilis.”

 

“Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings on the banks of the river between McKees Rocks and Coraopolis and up the valley toward the airport.”

 

The nurse and witnesses are blown away as they did not realize his extensive holdings, and as Doug slips away, the nurse says,

“Mrs. Smith, your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property”.

 

Sarah replies, “Property ? …. the jerk had a paper route!”

HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! I hope this brought a smile to your face and made your day a little brighter! Love life and smile often.

Pictures That Speak Volumes #61

Photo Credit: via timetobreak.com

Photo Credit: via timetobreak.com

Many of us are rich more than we can ever imagine. We have a nice house, warm homes, food to eat, clothes to wear, money to spend and a plethora of many, many other blessings.

That is why today’s photograph is such a powerful image. This is a picture of a son who just graduated college with his penniless and homeless father….it makes you think just how good we have it!!!

My Best Friend – My Dad

My Best Friend - My Dad

My Best Friend – My Dad

I think back of all the awesome times that I shared with my dad. My dad was a photographer (long before the digital age and the internet) and he would work a lot of weddings, take portraits, and snap pictures for organizations such as the local Little League or the Boy Scouts. We used to go on these road trips just about once a week, in which he would have to drive about an hour and half away to deliver pictures to a Boy Scout camp inNorth Jersey. He had this Ford Galaxy which he called his “sacred cow” that he loved and always took special care of. Under his driver’s seat, he had a cassette player, and he would play all this German music; the polka, beer hall, German bands, etc. He would blast the music all the time and I even got pretty good at “singing” the German lyrics. He even had a little German flag attached to his radio antennae. The rides home were always glorious. We would stop by the huge railroad station in Princeton to watch the trains come and go….man, how I loved watching those things whiz by! Then we would go to out to this diner and I would always get the same thing to eat….a cheeseburger, fries, and homemade lemon lime soda…hmmmm! I can still taste it to this day.

My father was an only child and he never, I mean, NEVER played sports or knew anything about athletics. He always was found reading a book and listening to symphonies but when my brother and I started playing Little League, he always came to our games, watched, and of course, took pictures. He used to take the pictures in such a way, that when he had the film developed, the pictures looked like baseball cards. We had our own baseball cards!!!!! Now THAT was AWESOME!! All the kids in our neighborhood used to congregate at our house and we would play baseball, literally, all day. It was such a spellbinding, magical moment when, for that one short time, my dad came out and tried to play. We thought that was the coolest thing ever….even if he wasn’t that good 🙂

My dad had his own little Photography Studio in a sleepy, seaside New Jersey town.  It was always a magical time when I walked into his shop, viewed all the pictures that he took, smelled the chemicals from the Dark Room, saw his set-ups that he would use for his photo shoots. In the autumn, every Saturday after the local high school would finish their football game, they would have a parade down Main Street if they won. It was a wonderful experience sitting there in front of his shop watching the players, cheerleaders and the band while drinking an ice cold soda.  On most Saturdays my brother and I would meet him at his shop and we would go across the street and eat this awesome pizza or baked lasagna then play Pac-Man while we were waiting for the food to come out. It seemed like everywhere we went, everyone knew my dad and he knew them. It was really sort of cool. After church each Sunday, we would go to the bakery in town and get freshly made Jewish rye bread. Man, was that GOOD! The bread would still be warm from coming out of the oven. The crust would be nice and crispy and the bread itself, moist and chewy. Then we would go to his studio and watch TV and eat snacks while watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. On our way home, he would tell my brother and I to make sure that we ate a lot during the Sundaydinner so that my grandma and mom wouldn’t get mad.

Since we lived around the ocean, my dad would take us fishing around some boating piers and occasionally fish at the beach itself, surf casting. But most of the time, we fished by the piers trying to catch Snappers (or baby bluefish) around dinner time and stayed there until the sun went down. There was nothing better in life then to sit by those piers, drinking a Welsh’s grade soda, watching beautiful sunsets and watching the moon and stars begin their nightly dance. We would find sticks and try to hit the Jellyfish to watch them glow (that’s what they do when they get touched at night).

So, here I sit today, smiling to myself remembering the many special times that I shared with my dad…his laugh, his smile and his corny jokes. Today, his photography studio is gone, the bakery sold out years ago, the diner is no longer there, the Boy Scout camp was disbanded a long time ago and all of my neighborhood friends have all moved away.  My love and admiration of my father will never go away and will forever be in my heart…..for my father will always be more than my dad….he will forever be…my best friend.

Total Adoration

Photo Credit: Amanda  B

Photo Credit: Amanda B

One of the things that I feel is just a heartwarming sight, is seeing the eyes of a child looking at a loved one with total adoration and love. This is a picture of my dear friend, Amanda, we she was a little girl sitting on the lap of her father who recently passed away.

We should all have that same loving heart for the ones that we love….

What IT Means To Be A Dad (To Me)

My Boys, Grandpa and I Fishing at the Beach

My Boys, Grandpa and I Fishing at the Beach

Twenty three years ago, the Lord decided to bless me with the first of my two sons. Needless to say, I have enjoyed every second of my life being a father and, most importantly, a dad to my boys. To be able to be a good example of the Lord, give Godly advice, and love them unconditionally is the best gift that I could ever be to them.

In my opinion, being a REAL dad is so much more than just saying that I am one…it is showing my children how much I love them by the things that I do with them and way that I show them my love. It’s sacrificing the time I have and things that I want to do…for them. Being a good dad is not about “what am I receiving from my kids” but what can I do for them?”

There are so many things that I have done with my boys which have given me an incredible sense of fulfillment and satisfaction…things like…

Fishing at the beach

Camping in the Adirondacks

Swimming in grandma’s pool

Hiking many trails and National Parks

Praying together and teaching them how to pray

Reading Bible Stories to them

Talking with them about life’s lessons

Going on vacations together

Getting them ready for college

Canoeing down the Colorado River and sleeping under the starts for 3 days

Coaching them in recreation soccer, basketball and baseball

Cheering and encouraging them at their football and soccer games

Smiling and laughing at each other’s jokes, humor and foolishness

Going to the zoo

Making homemade pizzas

Enjoying outdoor BBQ’s

Going to the beach, body surfing and fishing

Kayaking

…and the list goes on and on.

I think a REAL man loves his family and children and places them as the most important thing in life. There is NOTHING that has brought me more contentment and peace in my life as my family. Simply being a loving dad and husband is the most rewarding feeling I can ever have.

You see and you have to understand…Any guy can be a father but not every guy can be a dad!!

Photos That Speak Volumes #44

Photo Credit: KRMG.com

Photo Credit: KRMG.com

The boy’s mother found Ryan Wise sitting with the large picture of his father in the corner of a room and snapped what may become one of the most iconic photo’s of our time.

Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Wise, 34 of Little Rock  Arkansas was a Special Forces soldier and father of three. He was severely injured during an operation in Afghanistan in January of 2012. He was hospitalized but died a week later from his wounds.

There is a website dedicated to Sgt. Benjamin Wise, “In Honor of Benjamin Wise.” I would like to ask you to visit it and take a moment to reflect on the lives of ALL of our heroes!