Remembering Dad

Father’s Day is rapidly approaching.

Yesterday, at a private family gathering in a Campbell, Texas cemetery my Mother provided us an opportunity to take time to once again celebrate the life of my father, Ted Frazier. He passed away in August 1988 after a vehicle accident.

At the time of my father’s passing I was still a rookie police officer, and had only been patrolling solo for a few months. I remember the memorial service and that I wrote a few poetic verses, and that almost the entire Greenville Police Department turned out to escort the procession to the burial site; but much of that couple of weeks surrounding Dad’s passing and funeral is a blurred memory.

Yesterday was a good day to reflect on his memory without the blinding pain and shock of a recent loss.

I told Mother and my siblings who were there, my wife, and brother-in-law that I believed Dad would be very proud of his sons and daughter today. As time has passed since August of 1988, my pride in my father has continued to grow as I have learned more about what it is like to raise children, earn a good living, and be as self sufficient as one can.

Ted Frazier did not have an easy childhood. He overcame huge hardships and to date I have not found anyone with a more solid work ethic. Add to that his ability to learn things on his own, and you see why his children have accomplished the things they have. He passed along his work ethic and taught us how to do so many things, from penmanship to marksmanship to operating machinery and driving tractors, and a thousand other things.

He planted us all in a firm orthodox christian foundation and taught us all to read the Bible for ourselves and to discern whether teachers were true or false by viewing their words under the light of God’s Word.

I thank God for the talented and loving father he blessed us with, and I look forward to the day when we meet in our eternal home and talk about the joy of riding in the open wind on a motorcycle, chasing down stray cattle, hauling hay, and the unique and successful paths each of his children were able to tread on this earthly plane because of the special gifts he imparted to us.

I’m looking forward to once more being wrapped in a hug by those massive and secure arms.

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Theodore Lawrence "Ted" Frazier
Theodore Lawrence “Ted” Frazier

So This is Christmas

Garland-photoWe celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior today yet our souls still ache from the loss of our spiritual patriarch and beloved step-father, Walter Garland. It is our first Christmas without him, and we will all be thinking of him as one of us says the prayer before we eat, wishing we could do it as well as he always did. We will miss his admonishment that today is intended to remember and celebrate God’s greatest gift to man.

Walter celebrates in the presence of the One whose birth generated this tradition, and in that he is far better off than any of us.

Lord, please pass this message along to your faithful servant:

Walter, we love you and miss you, but the wisdom you shared with us and the example you set in your days on this earth are the staples that help us endure this loss.

With our love, sorrow, and joy,

Tim and Robin

Robin’s Christmas Tree 2013

Seriously?

I’m banned from riding motorcycles for eight months after my spinal lumbar fusion surgery. Robin has the same operation affecting twice as many vertebrae and less than four weeks later she’s climbing a ladder to decorate her 2013 Christmas tree while no one else is home with her.

I suppose the Christmas tree is considered a worthy risk.

It is a gorgeous tree. It looks like one you would find in the front window at the original Macy’s or Tiffany’s. And she pulls it off year after year with a totally different color scheme. This year I was expecting so much less after we had a fire in the shop where the decorations and ornaments were stored on top of her having four vertebrae fused in mid November.

I think the woman should start a seasonal consulting business doing trees in businesses and homes. $500.00 labor not including ornament and tree costs would be a great deal to get a tree to look this spectacular.

Want to see it?

I’ll post a pic as soon as we reach five comments on this article. AND HERE IT IS:

Robin's 2013 Frazier Family Christmas Tree
Robin’s 2013 Frazier Family Christmas Tree

P.S. – While you’re waiting for me to post this year’s tree, here is our tree that Robin did in 2010:

Robin's Frazier Family Christmas Tree 2010
Robin’s Frazier Family Christmas Tree 2010

Eulogy for Walter Fleming Garland

Note: The following is a transcript of the eulogy I gave at my stepfather’s memorial service on July 24, 2013. I am presenting it here for those who were unable to attend the services:

Walter Fleming Garland
In a land and time when so many are fatherless, I have been blessed to have two fathers. Thanks to the theological scholarship of these men I learned so much more than the average person about God’s word and having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Yesterday, Robin, Michael, Shelby, Kelli, and I were reminiscing about Walter (Dad) over breakfast. I asked then, and have asked many other family members since, if anyone knew why Walter preferred to wear these [holds up one of Walter’s “Newsy” caps] flat caps. The answer appears to simply be because he liked them.

belfry-neptuno_tanThe image of Dad wearing these caps is burned into my mind. Many of you have probably seen Walter Garland wearing a “news boy cap” frequently as he walked to and from these church buildings over the years. I searched online and found that these caps are most often referred to as “Newsboy caps”. I thought: how coincidental is it that Dad’s preferred head covering is named after men who delivered the news in times past.

Walter was a news boy in a spiritual sense. He devoted much of his life to spreading the gospel; the “good news” that salvation is available to all mankind through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 52:7 says:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news; who proclaims peace; who brings glad tidings of good things; who proclaims salvation; who says to Zion: “Your God reigns!”

As many of us know, Walter’s vocation led him to become a leader in Christian education. The thousands of lives and minds he influenced throughout his career will multiply exponentially as his former students live out their lives and in turn teach their children and grandchildren.

Speaking of children and grandchildren, Walter Garland became a devoted step-father and grandfather the day he married my mother. It is a tribute to Walter’s spirit of acceptance that he tolerated certain aspects of the Frazier and Wilemon family cultures.

One of the most commonly told anecdotes regarding Walter’s early shocking discoveries about our somewhat hillbilly style of childcare was his horror when he walked into his San Antonio kitchen to discover his newly acquired grandbaby Justin being bathed by Mom and Shelby in the kitchen sink.

He reacted by exclaiming, “You’re washing that kid in the sink? That’s where we wash our dishes!”

Sometimes we put Walter through trauma in a more physical sense. The Frazier boys have motor oil in their veins. Michael, who is a master mechanic and has a way of coaxing extraordinary horsepower out of internal combustion engines, invited Walter to go for a ride in his Malibu drag racer one day. As Walter buckled into the passenger seat, Michael asked, “This is going to be pretty intense; are you ready?

“I guess.” Walter replied.

Walter was NOT ready.

75malibuMichael launched the Chevy dragster and almost immediately attained what us Frazier boys refer to as “extra-legal” speed. Walter went into a g-force induced wail of “Whoop-whoop-whoop…” and capped it off with a shout of “SLOW DOWN!!!”

In the years since Walter has allowed himself to be repeatedly slimed by grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and dogs. He’s been a warm and loving father and grandfather to us all. Those of you who know Walter’s penchant for cleanliness and his constant battle against germs will realize how much of a challenge those sticky hands and faces must have been.

Mother, as I said before, you did a wise and wonderful thing when you married Walter Garland. You brought this family a precious gift in him, and we are forever grateful to you and Walter for your prayers, guidance, and living examples of love, faith, endurance, and loyalty.

George and Judy, I am so glad to finally know you. One day I and/or my siblings will experience the special pain of losing a brother or sister. For now I can only imagine your loss and marvel at the way you have supported us, my mother, and your brother in these last days. George, you truly are a rock, and cut from the same magnificent cloth as your brother Walter.

It is a testament to the quiet humility of Dad that he wanted his memorial service to be centered upon the salvation provided by Jesus Christ, and that we not dwell upon his substantial scholarly and spiritual accomplishments.

I understand that desire, but I know he will forgive me for pointing out that his very wish to take a back seat is worthy of exaltation.

Luke 14:7-11 says:

So he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noted how they chose the best places, saying to them:

“When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say, “Give place to this man”, and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.

But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, “Friend, go up higher.” Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit with you.

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Walter Fleming Garland is alive and well today in the presence of God.

Walter, my friend, my dad, “Go higher”, and sit now in a place of honor prepared for you. We long for the day when we shall see you again.

Thank you all for being here to celebrate the life of our beloved husband, stepfather and grandfather, Walter Fleming Garland.