A Eugooglee For My Father

My father is not dead. But, I wrote his eulogy anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly NOT ready and waiting for my father to die. In fact, I’ve recently flown across the country with my not quite two year old daughter to be with him as he fights his way back in the Critical Care Unit of St. Francis hospital. Finally, things seem to have begun taking a turn for the better. Of course he’s not out of the woods yet. But being here and close has eased my mind so much. Before that, from 3,000 miles away, I couldn’t get over the feeling of dread that the moment whose arrival I have dreaded for years might finally be upon me and that along with it regret – for not being near him when it happened, amongst other things – would follow quickly behind.

That’s when a tangent thought lead me to the conclusion that I needed to write his eulogy so that if he survived this I could read it to him. It seemed especially tragic to me that I might sit down to write it after he had passed and that he may never have heard what I would have to say about him. It is sad to me to think that the person being eulogized would never get the opportunity to hear that praise while he is alive and might appreciate or benefit from it the most. The ones left behind may find some comfort in a eulogy, but I’m not sure how much good it does the dead guy, if you know what I mean.

So, I sat down and wrote a eulogy for my father, not knowing if I may actually have to read it aloud to a group of mourners in the near future. I’m not even sure I could read it aloud to anyone at all if the worst should happen. Thankfully, that remains to be seen. For now, here it is – my written praise to my father – who at this moment is not dead and will turn 71 in less than a week.

***

Cecil Rudolph Kersey.

Some of you know him as Cecil, many of you know him as Rudi. I know him as Dad. I’m often told by my mother that we are exactly alike. While I don’t know that that is entirely true, I do know that many of his faults are mine, but I’d like to think maybe a little of his greatness is too.

Here is a simple list of some of the great things about my father you may already know:

He is loyal.

“Joy Lynn is out to Win!” This is a slogan he FORCED me to adopt when I was in the 6th grade and thought I might, maybe, consider running for class treasurer. He had every confidence that I could and would win despite my attempt to explain to him exactly where I fit in the social hierarchy at school – the word plebe comes to mind. Yes, for every reason I gave as to why I could not win, he responded with the reason why I absolutely would win. I didn’t, but that’s not the point. He was completely loyal to the underdog that was his daughter.

He recognized my “frienemies” before I did. The first one I can remember is Emily Rudd. He didn’t like her one bit. He was on my side before I was and I, of course, was on her side because what could he know? I came to find out he was right, by the way.

If Brett or I are ever rude to our mother, you bet dad is there to defend her (even though she is perfectly capable of doing it herself). He is loyal to her most of all, I think. He would do anything for that woman (including paint Roses for Hilda – an impressionistc piece I now have haning in my living room).

He loves to “pull your leg.”

Especially if he thinks he can get away with it and you are a gullible child. “Curiosity killed the cat, Joy and Brett.” That’s what he told us as we were getting out of the car to explore the local haunted house (at least it was in our minds). “Oh no! Whose cat,” we asked? “Who is Curiosity? I don’t care, I’m still going!” “Just remember, curiosity killed the cat, ” was all he would say. We never did explore that house before they tore it down.

And did you know that he was really the Incredible Hulk? Yep, he would stand here now and tell you that he had us completely convinced of this fact. (Not so. I was pretty sure it wasn’t true, but you know, I didn’t want to ruin it for Brett.)

He is into repetition. I’ll say it again – he is into repetition.

On my 16th birthday, he set the CD player on repeat to play “Sixteen Candles” ALL DAY LONG. Every time I hear that song, for the rest of my life, I will think of my father. My daughter will endure the same burden on her 16th birthday in honor of him. And it is primarily because of his love of repetition that Clara at not even two years old knows exactly who Papa is from 3,000 miles away. He’s “1, 2, 3, 4, 5!, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5!” repeated in a sing-song voice just like a once favorite, now long forgotten toy.

From these stories, it should come as no surprise that he loves children and dogs.

Cats? Not so much. I can’t tell you how many times he suggested the best place for our family cats was in the microwave. While it was on. He was half-joking, of course. In fact, he had just recently sent me a very detailed email about how to use my cat as a toilet brush. He assured me that both Harry and the toilet would come out “sparkling clean.”

He is a poet and a painter. (Seems this may be a requirement of carrying the Kersey name.)

Don’t be mislead,

Always plan for what’s ahead,

Danger waits for those who occupy an unmade bed.

There may be some wisdom in there from my father. It’s an acrostic poem he wrote, where the first letter in each line combines to spell a word. In this case, D-A-D – Dad.

He maintains and ongoing battle over the birdseed with any given number of squirrels each day.

But don’t think he didn’t respect this sworn enemy:

Bark held tight in close embrace,
Round and round in joyous chase,
But serious times soon come again,
Come so soon on Winter’s Wind.

Hidden in summer and in fall,
Nuts and seed, large and small,
Destined to be found again,
When Winter’s cold has crept within.

Buried secrets keep them fed,
While nature herself provides a bed,
In urban areas sometimes a friend,
Provides more food in constructed bins.

Intended perhaps for a feathered friend,
The squirrel seems somehow to always win:
Improving his larder by persistent attempts,
No obstacles to his efforts proving exempt.

He can’t hear worth diddly-squat.

And will never admit it. Whenever I call home to see how my parents are doing, mom asks the standard mom questions:

“How’s Clara?” Doing good.

“How’s Chad?” Doing good.

“Anything else I need to know about?” Not really.

“Do you want to talk to your dad?” Sure. Hi dad.

“How’s Clara?” Doing good. “What?” DOING GOOD!

“How’s Chad?” Doing good. “What?” DOING GOOD!

Now, if Chad happens to be in the room while I’m on the phone with them, all he hears is:

Doing good. Doing good. Doing good. DOING GOOD! Doing good. DOING GOOD!!

If you didn’t know all these things about my father – that he was loyal, liked to pull your leg, loved to repeat himself, could paint and write poetry – there is one other thing you may not know about him:

He can sometimes be stubborn.

If you know any Kerseys, then you know this is DEFINITLY a requirement of carrying the “Kersey” name. It’s funny that this, this flaw, becomes one of the most endearing things about him. A thing to look back on, to shake your head and laugh – just a little – at “how frustrating that man can be!”

I say to you now the same words that he wrote after his own father’s passing:

He is my father and I love him.

One Response to “A Eugooglee For My Father”

  1. Suzanne Says:

    This is a gift, Joy. Thanks for sharing it with us and with him. xoxo

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