I am SO late posting this. I took pictures with the idea of doing a post to honor him, but then life got busy/crappy and the pics have just sat on my computer.
Splenda Daddy's uncle (dad's brother) is an amazing individual. Uncle Earl has been an educator for his entire professional life. Starting as a teacher, and then into administration as a principal. He just recently celebrated his 90th birthday. His family threw a nice open house for friends and family to come and honor him.
I don't know Earl as much as I would like to, and I plan on studying his biography when I can get it in my hands, but I learned a whole lot more about him during the event.
His two sons are the most upstanding, outstanding and talented guys around.
Bill, is a kindred spirit in that he spends his time running and competing. I can't even remember how many marathons he has under his belt, and multiple Ironman events. He's an athletic stud and my race hero. He is also a talented wood worker who does cabinetry and other pieces of art. In fact, he just delivered some race plaques to WRC for their New Years run. His ability is amazing.
Ed is a bit more famous in the public eye. He is the same Ed Catmull who founded Pixar. What I admire most about him, is his humility and kindness. He is the most down to earth fella ever. And by the way he runs his business and treats his employees, I think many more CEO's could take lessons and keep highly productive businesses with happy staff. From the time that Toy Story came out, my kids have loved to watch the credits and find the Catmull name. He's such a talented creator.
I remember Uncle Earl's first wife very vaguely, having met her early in my marriage to Splenda and more recently his second wife, but I also learned that Earl is a magnificent wood worker himself. Bill taught him the trade and he has found a lot of fulfillment in that hobby
He is also a Marine. He is a World Word II veteran. Considering that there are not many of those around still, I find that remarkable.
Splenda and I spent a half hour or so at the open house, looking over the displays and talking to Earl and his family. I was astonished at how many of his former students and those who were teachers for him, came out to see him. And at 90 years old, he REMEMBERED them! I loved listening to people approach him, congratulate him, and then reminisce their common memories.
I left there thinking about what would happen if I turned 90. What would be written or talked about regarding my children? I'm proud to say, that they are each successful men with beautiful wives and beginning legacy's of children. Would people remember me and have common memories to laugh about? Would the get together require an entire cultural hall to accommodate all the well wishers? Would I be able to remember ALL the people who came to see me? Would I still be walking around, even if I had to have some cane assistance?
So many things to think about. I know some of these questions people ask themselves when thinking about their own funeral, but the difference I found is that Earl's friends and family chose to honor him NOW, while he was still here to enjoy it and to be grateful for all the wonderful associations he has been blessed to have throughout his many years.
My deep thoughts takeaway?
1. If I am gonna live a long time, I better be doing something worthwhile to myself and to others. I better be doing something that makes a difference in people's lives.
2. If I don't live a long time, I still better be doing those things.
3. Make relationships meaningful so that I will remember all those who would bother to take the time to come see me.
4. Make sure I keep all my own teeth so I can easily enjoy all the yummy food that shows up at these kinds of events.