Today, on Father’s Day, I was honored to be able to speak at my dad’s retirement luncheon.
It’s a pretty tough thing sometimes to put in words how you feel about someone. It was especially hard for me to write and deliver these words to over 350 people in attendance to celebrate my dad’s retirement. My dad has been in ministry for 40 years. So I wanted it to be profound. I wanted it to be heartfelt. Most importantly, I wanted it to mean something to my dad and to my family.
Here is the video of my words:
Here is the transcript of my message:
I have had a relationship with Pastor Don every single day of my life. For that, I feel lucky and blessed.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak at this event for my dad’s retirement. It’s fitting to me, that this event is being held on Father’s Day. Many of you in this room know my dad as Pastor Don. I only know him as “dad”. In the 2 stints he has served as a Pastor for this church I was either in diapers or an adult living in a different state. So, on this Father’s Day, I would like to spend a few minutes talking about my dad.
My dad makes amazing fried rice.
In fact, while my culinary obsessions have burned white hot and then faded over time, Dad’s fried rice is the opposite and has evolved from an enjoyable meal to a Pavlovian salivary gland swelling event. I remember when I was a kid being upstairs in my room and smelling the amazing smells of lap cheong sizzling downstairs. It was fried rice time!
When my dad became a vegetarian the first thing I lamented was the future of his fried rice made with lap cheong. He assured me this would not be a problem. I quietly mourned the loss. After all, if I were to rank the ingredients in order of preference, lap cheong would be 1, 2, and 3. Followed by egg at #4 and the crispy burnt rice at the edges rounding at #5.
The first time he cooked Dad’s vegetarian fried rice, he bought a package of Smart Bacon and said, “This will be just as good as lap cheong.” I was skeptical. “Not only will it be just as good, I will make twice the amount of eggs.” I worried he was trying to compensate.
I watched him start the rice and line up the ingredients. Now, if eating Dad’s fried rice is the concert, seeing the prep is the really good opening act. He gathered the peas, meticulously chopped the onion, beat the eggs, and took out the necessary spices from the spice rack. Everything was done with precise timing as proof of the hundreds of times he had done in the past.
Then he chopped up the Smart Bacon. I cringed. This wasn’t lap cheong. It isn’t meat! It wasn’t even bacon! No, no, no! I thought. They are sliced like carrot shreds not like circular discs of fatty lap cheong goodness!
“Trust me” he said.
He spooned it into the bowl making sure to point out the extra pieces of egg and the burnt pieces of rice he saved for me.
I took the first bite….
And it was pretty good! Fantastic actually. In fact, the lack of lap cheong balanced out the other flavors. I liked it. No. in fact, I loved it!
I try to replicate Dad’s Fried Rice for my family all the time. Sometimes I try with lap cheong and sometimes without. It doesn’t matter. I can’t match it perfectly. Doesn’t taste the same.
You see, it isn’t the addition of the Smart Bacon or the lack of lap cheong that makes Dad’s fried rice amazing. It’s all in the dedication and consistency in the process.
Now most of you know that my Dad has a consistent process in almost everything he does. The way he makes his coffee. The way he serves a tennis ball. The way he packs his suitcase.
Opportunities come and go in life. Material possessions are new, get old, and are replaced. Some people come in and out of your life. But as things change in your life, the process in which you should live it should remain constant.
Integrity. Fairness. Humility. Trust. Honor. Dedication. Compassion. These are the qualities consistent in the way my dad has lived his life.
Whether you’ve known him for 40 years or just 4, I bet you’ve seen that in him too.
Happy retirement Dad! In the words of James Taylor, “How sweet it is, to be loved by you.”