~Clarence Budington Kelland
When my engagement broke up in my late 20's, I was left with no furniture, no money, and a broken heart. My Dad helped me find ways of getting a bed (a mattress on the floor, but a place to sleep), groceries, and a haircut (when my choices for the discretionary cash that I had were Metrocard or Toilet Paper). When I told him I was becoming a minister, he didn't say anything negative. My Dad has only ever asked "Why?" and let me make my own decisions - even when my decision was completely antithetical to his best offerings. Even when he KNEW my decision was going to be wrong - he never told me "No." He said beforehand, "Well, you do what you want."... and afterwards, "Well, I thought that might happen"
He told me, whenever I was freaking out about what could happen, "Don't look up the mountain." (I used that in my speech when I was ordained as a minister). When I was banging my head against a wall auditioning in NYC, temping, and barely surviving, he had just had major intestinal surgery and everything seemed to be coming apart at the seams. And yet, he sat with me at my small table in my hot as Hades apartment on 86th Street and told me, point blank, "I could never do what you do. You impress me."
While he may not ever understand what or why I do what I do, this man is the epitome of unconditional love, and I would be remiss if I didn't honor him in some way, shape or form. Daddy, I love you. I will always be your "little girl" and words cannot express the depth of my respect, love, and honor for you. You are the most remarkable man I have ever known and I look forward to many more years of being your friend, as well as your daughter. Thank you. Thank you for being.
~John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, 1994