The Ultimate Gentleman

I’m back from my short trip to Florida. It was a very short trip because I promised Boo I’d be back by this morning to chaperone her class trip to the zoo. I wouldn’t have missed her trip to the zoo for anything…..I was right up there in the front with all the kids “oohing” and “ahhing” over the awesome little owl pellets with little mice skeletons in them too….)

I brought home this photo that my mom had in one of the cabinets. It was taken around 2002.  It’s a photo of my dad, Diesel and I. My dad would ride Diesel around the neighborhood in his beach cruiser basket introducing him as his “granddog.”  And my mom would make me drink freshly squeezed orange juice:

 

The reason I was in Florida was because my dad was being inducted into the Quail Ridge Sports Hall of Fame.  The honor of the induction was presented to my mother:

My mom did an amazing job during her speech…..she reduced the room to tears multiple times. She ended with the idea that maybe my dad had a premonition about the USGA deciding to ban the long putter starting in 2016. My dad loved the long putter. We even buried him with his long putter.  She joked that if my dad were here…. there would be no shortage of his new advice on reintroducing the short putter to the game….. to all those people he had convinced to switch to the long putter in the last 10 years…..

She was introduced by Kevin Hammer, a friend of my dad’s who was with him when he died.  Kevin read a list of things he had copied down from my dad’s office…..notes that my dad had hung around as reminders to himself….on the lamp, on the wall, on the door:

have a great attitude

believe in yourself

play your own game

play one shot at a time

play with patience

commit to every shot

keep the game simple

play with no expectation

play with trust

never ever give up

 

*****

During her speech my mom mentioned about how I was diagnosed with cancer just a few months after dad passed away. On the ride home, giggling, I told my sister:

“haha…..Mom called me the miracle child…..”

She replied:

“Yeah, yeah….I know……and that makes me the test tube baby…..”

And in almost perfect unison we both chimed in (only because my brother wasn’t there to do it for us):

“….and the experiment failed.”

 

The other inductee that night was Ches Riddle. My dad would have been so proud to have been inducted with him. After my mom’s speech, the whole room was in tears…..and then Mr. Riddle’s speech lefts us all in stitches. He told a story about how he once bought a hot air balloon and took his wife up with him…..but he had a hard time getting the balloon to come back down to earth because of all of his wife’s hot air…..you had to be there.  His wife moved over a foot when he sat back down. It was cute…..and it made my mom laugh harder than I’ve seen her laugh in a long time. So I’m thankful for that.

 

From the Charlotte Observer last Tuesday:

Golf’s Ultimate Gentleman.

I love that nickname.

It makes me so proud.

Dad was truly a gentle man.

 

 

*****

Totally random, but as I’m writing this post Boo just asked the following questions…..so I had to document them somewhere and this seems like a great place….you don’t mind, right?

Is there no air in space to breathe?

Is Daddy allowed to look at your boobies?

Doesn’t this brush look like a palm tree?

Can I go to Grandma’s house and see the secret door?

 

*****

Anyway, it made me sad to leave Florida because I knew it was probably the last time I’d see my parent’s house there. My mom has put it on the market.  As I left it was like I was saying goodbye to that chapter of my dad’s life.

As I got on the plane last night I noticed there were what looked like duct tape marks around the plane door..  It was something my dad would have pointed out: hey Ash, look at the duct tape holding the plane together. And then he would have chuckled.  I walked past the cockpit and I could hear the pilot whistling just like my dad used to. It was enough to give me the goosebumps.  I made my way back to my seat and as I tried to get my heavy bag into the tiny bin I got flustered and a nice gentleman helped me.  I sat in the wrong seat and inconvenienced a whole load of people. Another man put his hand on my shoulder in a very fatherly way to reassure me that it didn’t matter.  No one does that anymore.  As we sat there waiting for the plane to take off I realized that two of the flight attendants had been on my flight when I came back from my dad’s funeral…..and it had been an entirely different state and flight route.  I’m not sure what the odd’s of that are but I’m pretty sure that’s like a one in a million chance.  And all these little things made me think that my dad was there in some way.

It’s hard not to think about my dad when I’m on a plane….but I don’t get sad…I get inspired.  When Kevin was introducing my mom on Wednesday he called my Dad “the Indiana Jones of Golf” because Dad was always seeking out a new adventure and he’d come back with unbelievable stories to share.  I think about that and I pull out my laptop and I write down anything and everything that I remember about my dad. I write about hilarious family stories that we tell over and over.  I write about the people I met on my trip and my new adventures with them. The flight attendants don’t even bother to ask me if I want something to drink…..they already know the answer will be “no thank you.” I ended up with 36 pages of writing on this trip.

*****

One year ago today, my blood results were showing that my cancer wasn’t reacting to the chemotherapy like we thought it would. Reading back on that post it’s funny that I was more concerned about getting a new bra that didn’t look so wonky on the scan. I did get a new bra by the way. And now I’m in remission. Maybe the two are correlated in some way.

I’m happy to be home now.  I miss my mom.  I’m excited to watch a movie tonight with Mr. LBB. I loved learning about owl poop this morning. I watched a video my sister sent with the snow they got. God is good.

And now…..I’ll leave you with a slightly edited version of my dad’s list (substituting “life” for “game”)…….because I think everyone should have little notes like this hanging up around their house:

Have a great attitude.
Believe in yourself.
Play by your own rules.
Be present.
Live with patience.
Have faith.
Keep life simple.
Live with no expectation.
Live with trust.
Never ever give up.

 

xoxo,

Ash

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Comments

  1. 1

    Your father seems like he was an incredible man. He lived his life to the fullest and in a way most people never have to courage to do.

    God bless you and your family. :)

  2. 2

    Loved seeing the pics of your trip on IG, such a perfect chance to honor & remember your Dad. Thank you so much for sharing pieces of him, it is so evident of your (and many others) admiration of him. His words of advice are so spot on!

  3. 3

    What a beautiful post. I don’t believe in accidents I truly Angels were working :)

  4. 4

    Beautiful reflections of your love for your dad. So very sorry for your loss. Teary after reading it because he reminds me of my dad: gentle and strong and optimistic, with quick and sincere smiles for everyone. Thank you for your courage in writing about him. Lost my dad almost a year ago and it’s lovely to read of another daughter’s love for her dad.

    On another topic – what kind of dog is Diesel? Adorable!

    Blessings!

  5. 5

    I wish I was your friend in real life, you are so cool. x

  6. 6

    I love this post, Ashley. I was laughing and crying while reading it. Bless you.

  7. 7

    Very inspiring…I am sure your dad was there with you.

    Those 36 pages will be very cherished one day.

  8. 8

    Truly think you are amazing and an inspiration….I always share the stories of your dad with my mr., as he is a big golfer. We both are touched by your father’s gallantness and gentlemanly qualities.

    I am glad you were healthy for this time with your mom. I’m sure your dad was looking down smiling at his girls.

  9. 9

    Ashley, this is one of your best posts. It is as if you are sharing part of your heart on paper (or laptop). You have inspired me in so many ways, but today I thank you for your inspiration to share real things and be authentic. Thanks, Heidi

  10. 10

    Sitting here this Saturday morning enjoying my coffee, I pulled up your blog. Then the tears started. I am so happy I came across your blog, I love reading it and today’s post was very touching. I do believe in angels and believe that our love ones are watching down on us and try and reach us in the smallest but most touching ways. Again and always, thank you for sharing your journey. God Bless. Enjoy your weekend.

  11. 11
    lisa jack says:

    You & your family are such Godly inspiration!! Love to read your updates.

  12. 12

    Thank you for sharing! What a special event for you, your Mom, brother and sister. It’s so inspiring to read how your Dad continues to be present in your life today. Also, I love the picture – Diesal looks like he is posing and ready for the picture! :)

  13. 13

    Your post brought me to tears! I feel the same way about my Dad – he has always been known as “Super Neighbour”, and “Super Dad”, because he goes into super-hero mode whenever someone around him is in crisis. Thankfully I still have him around, and cannot imagine my life without him. Congrats on the honours given to him; sounds like it was richly deserved.

  14. 14

    I LOVE you!! fantastic post. Really perfect.

  15. 15

    You are a good daughter :)

  16. 16

    Dear Ashley – daily you inspire. You bring joy to so many because indeed, YOU CHOOSE JOY!!! Thank you for sharing the relationship with your Daddy. He sounds like a wonderful person. We continue to rejoice in the news of your remission. Thank you for allowing us all to be on the journey with you!!!

  17. 17
    Leigh Ann says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. I lay here reading this with tears trickling down my face. I believe in angels and it sounded like you had one with you on your flight home. You are right, true gentlemen are VERY rare these days. Every time I read a post about your dad it makes me think of mine. Kind,loving,giving,and someone who loves their daughter! I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds like you are doing a great job by holding on to your memories. You have inspired me to start writing mine down. I don’t ever want to forget!
    Hugs!
    Leigh Ann

  18. 18

    Your dad seemed like an incredible man! Loved reading this post!!

  19. 19
    DzynByJules says:

    Your dad reminds me so much of mine, whom I lost quickly to cancer over 12 years ago. Your memories of him are so touching, making me so appreciate all the wonderful ones I have with the man who shaped the woman I am today. Thank you LBB! You are a gift to us all!

  20. 20

    While wiping my tears from reading that heartwarming tribute to your dad in the paper I burst out laughing when I read Boo’s question about if Daddy is allowed to look at your boobies. She is such a little cutie!!

  21. 21
    Dana Levine says:

    Awesome post…

  22. 22
    Jennifer Goldberg says:

    Such a beautiful post Ashley. You are amazing as is your whole family.

  23. 23

    I wonder if your dad is helping my dad improve his game in Heaven. I’m so glad all the little things happened to remind you of him. Thanks for sharing his list. My dad’s list went like this: “Sharing and loving, laughter and forgiveness. What a quartet to live by.” Thanks Ashley.

  24. 24

    Inspirational post! I still miss my Dad and it will be 20 years this month. I don’t think we ever get over the ” hole in my soul” when our parents leave us, we would keep them forever if we could. <3

  25. 25
    Valerie Nelson says:

    Loved this whole post! Especially the random boo questions :)

  26. 26

    I love your stories Ashley – you had such a special father and were very lucky! Your mom is pretty special too!

  27. 27

    Your dad seems like a wonderful man, a true gentleman. I love reading your stories. You tell them in such a way that makes us (the readers) feel like we know him. Know you. Thanks for that.

    I’m now curious…does Mr. LBB get to see your boobies? HAHAHA! She is so funny with her questions.

  28. 28

    love this! like all of it- the randomness, the “coincidences”, noticing things that reminded you of your dad, your crazy kid and her crazier questions! lol

  29. 29

    I believe your dad was with you on your flight in some way. That is amazing. I didn’t get to have that kind of relationship with my dad, but I have chosen the perfect man and some day, I hope our child(ren) will talk about us with such love and adoration.
    I love your photo. So amazing. Everyday memories are the best.
    Also, Diesel has been around awhile!
    Thanks for sharing!

  30. 30

    love this post Ash!!!

  31. 31

    What a wonderful legacy your dad has left. Not his golf game or his career or fortune…his family and his memories played over and over again by those who knew him. We should all be so blessed.

  32. 32

    tears. and laughs. thanks for both.

  33. 33

    wow, i used to live in Quail Ridge. I rented a room from a friend whose mom owned the house there (i was a poor art student). I also worked as a waitress at the country club there also. crazy, i have not thought about that time in my life in a long time (it was the early 90’s) – maybe i waited on your dad!
    so interesting that on your trip down memory lane, i found some memories of my own on your path. thanks.

    (i remember i gained 14lbs while working there because the chef – a very German older guy {well, i was 18 so he seemed a lot older}- would feed me delicious sweets and send all kinds of food home with me)

  34. 34

    Thank you for sharing Ashley. I’ve been following your blog for a little over a year now and you and your story have really touched my life.

  35. 35

    My Dearest Daughter, I am so blest to have you preserve all these “misty, water colored memories” about your Dad!! Thanks so much for coming to the awards dinner for your dad! Your loving words have consoled me eternally, mom

  36. 36
    Heather says:

    Just found you. Loved reading about your Gentleman Dad. What an amazing gift he and your mom are. The epitome of good parenting is evident is so many ways. And you are a gift to them for sharing the legacy they have so beautiful created in you!