It was late afternoon and I was in my new office space downstairs, trying to stay cool during a rare heat wave. I was expecting the standard call; lamenting over the latest political gaffe, ruing the performance of our respective baseball teams and discussing the weather . . . our normal father/daughter conversation. A minute or two into it, I felt a shift in his tone and somehow knew this was different.
He wasn’t feeling well as he recovered from prostate surgery and I didn’t see the signs of what was to come in the next two months. Looking back on our conversation, I think he knew. He had a premonition and he wasn’t going to waste any more time with idle topics. He had things he needed to tell me. No matter how I tried to divert the conversation, he returned to several themes, enough times that I instinctively rose from my chair, moved to my whiteboard and started scribbling down what he was telling me.
I could hear the smile in his voice. You know how that is? You can hear a smile. I could see his joy through the phone. I could feel his stubborn focus when I attempted to down-play his praise as he repeatedly returned to the topics he needed to cover.
Focus, determination, leadership, humor, joy, inspiration, compassion, positive impact, overcoming fear . . . and so much more. A quiet outpouring from a man of few words.
I wish I had more than 43 minutes and 28 seconds. Yet, I’m grateful beyond words that I recognized the importance of them at the time.
His Father’s Day gift is alive and well as I carry his words with me every day.