Monday, April 2, 2012

Eulogy for My Dad

My dad and I in February 2012 to celebrate his 84th birthday. My wonderful dad passed away last week; here is the eulogy my husband wrote and gave at his funeral today. I think he captured the spirit of my dad very well...

On behalf of the family, we would like to thank everyone for coming to remember Donald W. King. I am Michael Allen, Ruby's husband.

I knew Donald King for about 8 years. After less than a decade it is difficult to stand here and speak about a life that spanned over 8 decades. This room is full of people who have known him far longer than I have. So I am honored to be asked to speak today, and I hope my own limited thoughts and experiences are recognizable by those of you who have known Don for a long time.

In his younger years, Donald played football for Ironton High School. He was involved with the first black Boy Scout Troop in the state. Don was very happy when his grandson, Grant, joined scouts, following in his footsteps.

While in the Navy, Don was part of the crew that went to the South Pole with Rear Admiral Bird. He also traveled to Korea, Japan, and many other places around the world.

Donald King had a lifelong love of learning. He was always reading and was always watching documentaries and was always, always telling stories. He had a deep love of jazz and blues and had an extensive collection of blues recordings. He was a talented artist and would give Julius and me tips about our own artwork. I sat and talked with him often over the years, and he not only learned a lot in his lifetime but he taught a lot.

I learned a great deal from him.

I learned

that you can live a life of 80-some years, and be young almost through the entirety of it. Now, Don knew how to be young. He was a great dancer and a great skater and a great tennis player when he was younger. I was told he could even dance on skates. But I didn't know him back then. A few years ago though, I told him that I'd just bought a scooter, and he asked me, “How much do you weigh??” I said, “I don't know, I haven't checked in a while, why?” He told me he was just down at the flea market asking a guy about a scooter and the guy said he shouldn't buy one because he was too heavy for it, but here I was heavier than him with a scooter to ride. The unspoken part of that story is that Don was about 80 years old at the time, shopping for a scooter. And I'm not talking about a mobility scooter advertised on daytime TV, This was a mini-motorcycle. So you can be young almost your whole life and he certainly tried his best to do just that.

I learned

that you could put on a tuxedo, (and he actually owned the tuxedo), and you could go down to the club, sit in with the band, and play saxophone, and because there are more members in the band they make more money. Well that seems like a good thing to know, except Don didn't know how to play saxophone. He says he didn't need to, he just stood up there and held the thing and the club owner didn't know any different. It was called, “Playing dummy saxophone”. He said the only thing to watch out for is if the real musicians in the band are trying to mess with you, and they all stop playing at the same time while you're still standing there going through the motions with no sound coming out.

There were other times he would be a part of the band, when he was younger, in Baltimore. Don was the dance lead. He would get the crowd dancing and enjoying themselves. He loved to dance and did so whenever he had the opportunity. Tina and Ruby remember the formal balls that their parents used to go to when they were kids.

I learned

about corn liquor. I learned more about corn liquor than I think I ever needed to know. I don't drink. I learned more about corn liquor than I think anybody needs to know, really. But he loved to talk about it and like with most of his stories, I enjoyed listening. (I listened. That is how I learned all these things, you see.)

I learned

that “hustler” can be a term of endearment. Don used to go to the flea market where he had a whole bunch of friends and people to wheel and deal with. He would sometimes buy and sell things like lids for iron skillets and would make money selling them because he'd always have one in the right size. I told him about a time when I'd bought some microphones and I resold them for double the money, and he just smiled real big and said slowly, “Yeah .... you're a hustler ... heh heh heh” I never thought I would feel so proud to be called something like that. But Don had a great way of accepting other people.

I learned

from Don the feeling of being accepted. I felt welcome in his home and felt like part of the family. He always smiled when he saw me and we would spend hours talking in his living room. But a lot of other people felt accepted in his home as well. He and Hideko, his wife of 52 years, used to do a lot of entertaining. They would throw big family dinners that included people from all walks of life, so many friends who were more like family.

Don had a certain kind of strength. He always gave you the impression that he was the head of his family, he was the alpha male, the head honcho. This was the guy who got the corner brownie and the corner corn bread. He inspired respect, but I felt there was more than just a one-sided kind of respect, there was mutual respect and admiration. He was used to being right but was able to laugh at himself if he was wrong. He had plenty of his own opinions about a lot of things, but he also listened, and was willing to change his mind if you said something that rang true for him. That takes a certain special kind of person. It takes a lot of self-confidence to listen to what others have to say and be willing to change your mind or laugh at your mistakes. I always felt that he had this and I admired him for it.

One final thing I learned ...

I learned that you never know when the time is going to come. Ruby and I visited Don the day before he passed away. I never told him how much I enjoyed the time we spent together. I never told him how I admired him. I never said how he felt like a second father to me. I never thanked him for these things. I'm an optimist, and I guess I just figured there would be another moment to speak up. And 24 hours later, it was too late, and the moment was gone, another lesson learned.

So I missed that moment, and that is why I appreciate this opportunity to speak about him today. I have another, different kind of chance, to say thank you Don, for everything.

And thank you, all of you, again for coming here today, and for listening.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Picked up my latest yarn order today and am very excited! I've bought the yarn and picked out the pattern already for the shawl I plan to knit for this year's A Christmas to Cure Cancer Silent Auction. I must have it completed by Thanksgiving...yeah, I'm starting early this year. Last year I went through about 5 different yarns and 4 different patterns before I got the right combination.

On the health front, Monday was my first day back to work after my sinus surgery. I was out for two weeks to have the surgery and recovery. It will take a couple of months to heal completely, but I think that it's going very well so far. I'm hoping to start my allergy shot therapy next week. I still hate needles, but I have to get my allergies under control, so I'm just going to have to get over that phobia.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

To Breathe Again

Had surgery on my sinuses today; it went well and there were no complications. Took me longer to come out of the anesthesia than they estimated, but that has happened to me before so I wasn't worried. Looking forward to being able to breathe normally again...hopefully in about 2 weeks.

I have had a sinus infection since mid-November 2009. After 4 rounds of strong antibiotics improved my condition, but did not fully heal me, I went to see an ENT (ears, nose, throat) doctor. The surgery should have cleared my sinus passageways sufficiently enough to resolve and hopefully prevent this situation again.

I did start a new shawl while waiting for my appointment. It will be a simple lace shawl just for me. It's a pretty variegated sock yarn (Lion Sock-Ease - my first time to use) with shades of pink and some purple & light green accents. It makes me think of Spring.

Need to recharge batteries so I can start posting photos again.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I have been assimilated

I know I don't blog much, but it was at least a way to socialize/connect with family, friends, and other knitters. It's enough for me. For networking & socializing, I think the blog, Ravelry and Linked In are sufficient...heck, I have enough trouble as it is to keep up with those three.

Then I got sucked in...I'm on Facebook. No need to repeat any of my previously expressed opinions about on-line social networks, I haven't forgotten. I blame my husband Michael...once he had an account, it was only a matter of a couple of weeks before I had one. Lured in by the possibility of reconnecting with old friends it was just too tempting. But understand this...I don't tweet!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm still here...

I can't believe I've been away for so long. I'm not gone permanently though. I'm now very happily married (eventually will get photos posted and thank you cards sent), knitting furiously ( a couple of people might actually get some handmade gifts this holiday season), and improving my bowling.

I'll have lots to talk about as I get back into blogging.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Goodbye Ike

Well, things are slowly getting back to normal here in Ohio after our windstorm this past Sunday. We were very lucky in our neighborhood; while we didn't have power for about 77 hours, there wasn't a lot of damage on our street. Can't say the same for the people one street over who have a tree on top of their car. I saw quite a bit of damage in our driving each evening to find an open restaurant for some hot food...there's only so many peanut butter and honey sandwiches that one person can eat in a week.

I'm happy to have our power back and hopefully everyone will get their power back this weekend. I missed my computer and my CPAP (which we eventually powered using a boat battery and a power inverter); also hated throwing out so much food (what a waste), but those were the only real hardships. I did get a lot of use out of my World Band Receiver which has a built in flashlight and a hand crank.

I was rather amused by some of the concerns expressed by individuals on the local radio stations. Considering the damage that some families the loss of TV for a few days/week really that important? It's just TV, there was probably nothing worth watching other than the news coverage of the storm and you can just walk outside to see that for yourself. I stopped watching TV about 10 years ago and you know what? I don't miss it much at all. Good shows, and even some not so good ones, eventually make it to DVD and can be easily borrowed from the library if one is so desperate to watch it. Besides, when one's free time is so limited, why waste it on TV?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Award Time

Last week, the lovely Tina gave me this award:

The rules for receiving this award are:

1. Put the logo on your blog. (done)
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you. (done)
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs. (see below)
4. Add links to those blogs on yours. (done) Here are my nominees:
Deborah's Daily Dilemmas
Finish Your Row
Knitting Iris
Kody May Knits
L.A. is My Beat (note: memory intensive, but worth it)
Monster Crochet
nerd knits
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs. (Will do..)

Thanks to the bloggers above for sharing their lives, thoughts and talent. I've gotten a lot out of reading their blogs over the last couple of years.

Tina - Thanks so much for the award! It really lit up a gloomy week.