I have a story that I’ve been keeping in my back pocket for my father’s eulogy some day.
I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to include it here because once it’s gone it’s gone and not easily replaceable. Nearly 30 years from now I could end up standing behind a lectern, vamping to a group of mourners who are starting to regret making the drive up from New Jersey.
“So, dad. … He sure did like iced tea, didn’t he?”
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Remarks like those really put a lot of pressure on the tombstone epithet to knock it out of the park.
The truth is that there’s an art to writing an appreciation of someone, a skill set, by the way, that I am in no way professing to possess.
I have spoken at exactly zero funerals but have signed approximately 20 Father’s Day cards. My name is printed very neatly on each and every one of them, but aside from the exquisite penmanship, the messages themselves are pretty bland.
Usually it’s not much more than “Happy Father’s Day” — and Hallmark already prints that on the front of the card for you.
The reason that I like my eulogy story so much is that it actually takes place at a funeral — the bereaved crowd is a big fan of topical humor — and does a good job of showing and not telling.
That’s very big in our business.
It’s good, sweeping, summer blockbuster-type storytelling that even involves a dead body — but I still have a nagging feeling that much like our annual Father’s Day card, it will still feel like it comes up short.
After all, it’s just another anecdote and the father/son relationship has always felt like more of a cumulative experience. Maybe when it’s all over, we’ll each get to fill out a survey.
Until then … Happy Father’s Day, Dad.