Today is my Dad’s birthday. It is 2 days shy of the 2 month anniversary of his death. I still find myself wanting to call him. I want to watch his favorite TV shows, not because I really like them, but because I remember how he loved them. I am finally in a spot that I can post the Eulogy I gave at his service.
It is my honor to be able to speak to you about my father, Ray King. When my son found out that I was speaking he asked me what I was going to say. I asked him what I should say and he told me, “You should say that Pa Ray was a good guy.” And he was. He was a very good guy. And my dad said that a lot to Jacob, “You are good guy Jacob.” So this is a very high honor.
Jay also said that I should let you know that Pa Ray was a joker. He was. He loved a good joke. He loved a bad joke for that matter. I can’t speak about him without asking if you are ready for the bad joke of the day. He asked everyone that. And people did not tell him no. They responded to him. So this is the first joke that I really remember him telling. Are you ready for the bad joke of the day? And, you have to say yes. J
Did you hear about the shipwreck? Well there was a shipwreck and there were 3 survivors. They made it into the life boat and as they floated away they noticed the storm was coming. They said, “We should have just stayed on the ship! We aren’t going to make it!” The first guy said, “I wish I knew how to pray!” The second responded, “I’m just as scared as you, but I don’t know how to pray either!” The third spoke up. “Well . . . . . . We didn’t ever go to church but we lived next to one and sometimes they got loud!” The storm was coming closer! “I don’t know that that I remember it exactly . . . .” His friends said it didn’t matter and encouraged him to pray! The third man went into a trance, with his eyes shut and his hands raised he spoke out, “B 9! I 27! N 40! G 55! O 72! Bingo!!!” (I totally get the irony of this joke and my profession!)
Dad was a joker but he had a very good philosophy. Daddy’s philosophy was based around giving it good effort. His question for me many times was, “Did you give it good effort? And remember, your good effort today is not the same as your good effort yesterday or your good effort tomorrow. But did you give it good effort today?” See, he understood that sometimes the outcome was going to be what you wanted and sometimes it wasn’t. But if you gave it good effort every day then you were doing all right. And that effort was meant for work, school and family.
He believed in good effort in all. He was drafted into the Army, but was given a medial discharge because his disease was manifesting even then, though they believed it was something else. He still gave it good effort. He was dedicated to his job and believed that every kid deserved the best opportunity to succeed. His calling was Middle School counseling, (you can insert your own bad joke here) and as the first Middle School Counselor of the year for the State of Kansas it was acknowledged that he gave it good effort.
He also gave good effort to his family. He loved his mother, grandmother and siblings so very much. When he married his wife Jani in 1971 he could not believe that this beautiful woman was his wife and they spent the next 44 years living, laughing, traveling and loving together. When his grandson was born in 2004 he was so proud and excited and he and Jacob were as close as could be.
I wish that I could tell you all the things that make my dad wonderful. I wish I could tell you about all the car shows and the train shows and the concerts and trips and the coffee mugs and the hats and the random tools that ended up in my garage – I got an engine hoist this year as part of my graduation gift. I wish I could explain a man who saw God as someone who cries with us in the midst of tragedies. But I don’t have a life time to tell you everything. So I will leave you with this. This June we went to Orlando as a family. We went to Magic Kingdom, Disney World and Universal Studies. Dad had a ball. We did the rides he loved from Peter Pan, Small World, the Haunted Mansion as well as doing something new the Hogwart’s Express. He was tired. But he wanted to live his life all the way. And he did. He was passionate, funny, smart, annoying with one liners, and a good guy who gave it good effort every day. He was loved, is loved, and will be missed by many. To my mother I am so sorry. My heart is with you. To his sister Kathryn and his brother Robert my sincerest sympathies. I thank God for Raymond King.
Did you give it good effort today? Whatever your good effort was for today, did you give it? And if you did, then it was a good day – no matter the outcome! So what is your good effort? What can you celebrate today that you gave your good effort to? Start a movement! Maybe if we gave our good effort everyday- we could make this world a little bit better and little bit brighter! #GoodEffort
And because it is his birthday- and he would call early in the morning and sing this song on my birthday- I share it with you.
Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday to you!
Grace and Peace,