Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Inez Thomason's Eulogy (Mother-In-Law)

I just want to take a minute or two to tell you about the woman I knew.

Inez Thomason was an incredible person. there are very few lives in this room, if any, that were not deeply impacted by her. As is typical I did not fully appreciate or understand this as a child or even as a young adult. It is not until, as they say, "I got out into the world" did I realize all that she had done with her life.

I wanted to share some the things I loved most about my Mom:

She is what you could call "thrifty". She could work a coupon and a sale better than anyone you will ever meet. I was often pulled into the plan; to stop at a certain store while it was having the right sale because she had already used the coupon or bought the limit at our local market.

Even a reduced price at McDonald's did not escape her eye. I would often find multiple Mickey D's sandwiches in our freezer when they were running a special. Sometimes she would bring home extras from a buffet in her purse. It was not just all you eat but all you could eat and then take home and freeze for later.

There was no such thing as a disposable anything. Plastic cups and silverware always got a second use (maybe even a third and fourth). Packaged condiments that came with any meal, if they were within her reach a large quantity was coming home with her.

She could never consider throwing anything away. She had clothing and paperwork packed in the house on Elston Street that was from before I was born.

She was the hard working women. Ever since I can remember she worked at her job 6 days a week and then worked around the house all day on Sun cooking and cleaning. I don't know if I ever remember taking a sick day or staying home when the weather was bad. And, I never heard her complain about it. Thanks to that hard work, I always had whatever I needed when I was growing up. You never realize how amazing that is until you see how many people are not so lucky. I am still impressed by all that she accomplished on her salary.

I saw her time after time help friends and family in need.

She was so brave. I know some of the obstacles she had to face in her life and I can only try to imagine picking up my life and moving to a strange area with 6 kids to start all over.

I am talking about these things so that you will all realize I hope, as some point, she knew how much I loved and admired her. She will forever be a part of my life and who I am. Anything good that I can point to in my life she is a part of in some way. I constantly find myself emulating her in some ways and wishing I could emulate her in others.

I will miss her greatly. However, I take comfort in the fact the she is happy and with my brothers Michael and Sonny, my Dad and all those who went before her. I love you Mom and Thank you so much. I will be forever grateful that I had you for a Mom.

PS: My wife wrote this about her mother. Different details but it is almost similar to what I would say about my Dad. Three months prior to the day of my accident she left us. I remember this event as, without a doubt, not only was I in that room when this was read... she impacted my life and I am blessed for the impact!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Thank You For Your Service

People routinely say this to me. It often comes off as, "Made eye contact and I must say something for having made eye contact. Hello doesn't seem good enough so I'll toss out the old stand by, 'Thank you....'" And those close to me wonder why I feel awkward when I am thanked.

Only ONE time did I get thanked in such a manner that I turned to the person (a woman), stood at attention, and gave her the sharpest salute I could. My wife's jaw dropped, from my firm expression of gratitude and the manner in which I was thanked.

As my wife and I was leaving a restaurant, with my take out in hand, a woman walked up having noticed my veteran license plate and seeing the "Insert War" Veteran hat. She greeted me so vibrantly and asked if I would allow her to by my lunch. She then handed me a $20 bill and quite firmly gripped my hand expressing the strength of her gratitude.

I truly regret not getting her name or using my phone to take a snapshot of such a resoundingly vibrant face. But it is that experience which helped me to learn that perhaps some of you out there... mean those words.

So I no longer shy away from being thanked and for that, wherever you are my dear, thank you for thanking me for my service.