My father died a few years ago and occasionally, my mom sends me a note or a memory of him. I a recent email she sent me was worth sharing. I’ve crossed out my brother’s name and “Pop” was my grandfather. My brother stopped talking to my parents (and me) shortly before my father died. I’m sure he regrets it, and he shared this with my mom upon learning of his death, the only time they’d spoken since:
Email from My Mom
“Pop gave this to xxxxx after he stole from Sam Goody’s [record store] at age 14. After Dad went to the Wayne Police station to gather up xxxxx and his friend, he made a call to Pop to tell him what he did. Next time pop saw him on a Friday night, he gave it to him. xxxxx told me about 4 years ago that he still carries the paper in his wallet to that day as a reminder. This was probably written in Pop’s day and xxxxx still holds on to it.
Your Name –
You got it from your father, it was all he had to give.
So it’s yours to use and cherish, for as long as you shall live.
If you lose the watch he gave you, it can always be replaced.
But a black mark on your name, son, can never be erased.
It was clean the day you took it, and a worthy name to bear.
When he got it from his father, there was no dishonor there.
So make sure you guard it wisely, for when all is said and done,
you’ll be glad the name is spotless, when you give it to your son.
I was thinking about the lack of civility and honor we find ourselves surrounded by daily. It’s no longer about “whether it’s right or wrong”, but “whether it’s legal”. Shifting blame. Dodging questions and answering with another question instead of accepting responsibility.
Politicians, virtually across the board, are lying D-bags. And I’m not being cynical, I’m completely sincere. They lie. They lie to get elected and then they lie more to get reelected. These lifetime politician leeches are facilitating the demise of a once great nation. I seriously believe the best days are behind us and our children won’t be afforded the same quality of life we had. The party’s over and our kids have to pick up the bill.
While many on Wall Street were vilified unfairly, there were certainly a select few responsible for both complete ineptitude and fraud that virtually brought down the entire financial system and they walked away with multi-million dollar handouts. These executives presided over years of false profits while enriching themselves along the way. The risks they took were sure to come home to roost – and when the check came due, they walked away further enriched, with no shame. How one could assume that home prices couldn’t decline, or allow a 35:1 leverage ratio so a 3% loss wipes out 100% of their equity is beyond me. If it were their money, they wouldn’t have done it. But it was shareholder money, which then became taxpayer bailouts. And they’re laughing all the way to the bank. Shameless.
Not to get all preachy and old-fashioned on you, but to people that go down this road and have absolutely no shame, what would their father think? Look what you’re doing to your family name.
My Brother and Our Family Name
My brother eventually did get his act together. After some thefts, some fist fights and another run-in with the law, my parents yanked him out of public school and sent him to a harsh Catholic school where the priests were still allowed to beat the crap out of the kids. Apparently, the structure helped. Not that I’m for corporal punishment, and I’ve never laid a hand on my kids. But some drastic intervention was needed before he was lost altogether. Although he’s estranged from the family now, and he lost the few precious years with my father that I got to experience, he has gone on to live a clean, honorable life as a business owner, and while he spent years angry at my parents, he always remembered to honor their name.