Remembering The Silver Fox

I found myself wandering around in the woods the day my father-in-law died. For 24 years I knew him, and it passed in a blink of an eye. What’s it all for? Life, death, it’s seamless. One day he is here with us, the next he’s gone.

Fred was “The Silver Fox,” quick on his feet, spry, charming, a gentleman with a huge heart, although that was his little secret.

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Once early on when I was sick, delirious with fever, and I wanted to have a glass of water by my bedside. Fred kept removing my glass. When I awoke, the glass of water would be nowhere in sight. “I need water. I’m parched,” I told my husband. He would bring it to me, and then zap, Fred would whisk it away. I didn’t know the extent of his OCD then. Later, I laughed.

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In my twenties, Fred told me, as he did everyone else, “You’re not all there.” The very first time I heard this, I wanted to cry.

Later I got it. He would say, “You’re not all there,” and point his finger to his head. I then laughed in agreement. You’re right, I’m not all there, Fred. Who is? The sooner you realize this in your life, the easier you’ll breathe.

For those who think “They’re all there,” they’re the most confused of us all. As time passes you by, you realize you know less, not more.

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He always brightened someone’s day with small gifts. Me, my husband, his kids, his grandchildren, gas attendants, wait staff at restaurants he frequented, staff at his son’s work….he gave us baked goods, sweet treats, trinkets, statues of dogs and cats, jewelry boxes painted with religious figures, glass sculptures, books, paperweights with butterflies, latch hook rugs with seagulls, condom holders….things that were, uh, puzzling. Okay, things we would never buy for ourselves.

In one of our last conversations, he still wanted to give my sons a present.

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He was a giver in abundance. He wasn’t trying to impress anyone. He just wanted you to smile, shrug off your worries if only for a few moments, and “lighten up” as he would say. It’s just who he was.

I think about my own life and who I touch, who is on the receiving end. How can I give the way he did? I find myself clutching onto fear and worry. Why? In the end, all we have in this life is each other.

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I will miss you, Fred.

In loving memory
Thomas Fredrick Reese
December 27, 1934 – March 23, 2013

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62 thoughts on “Remembering The Silver Fox

    1. Please accept my condolences, Amy. The Silver Fox sounds like a great guy. I wonder what he thought when he realized you hadn’t already bought condom holders. Sounds like he accepted you wholeheartedly into the family and it doesn’t get any better than that.

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  1. So sorry for your loss, Amy. Sounds like all of us could learn a lot from his legacy. Giving is always better than receiving, especially if you find yourself the proud owner of a condom holder. May God Bless you and keep you and your family through the difficult days and months to come.

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  2. Look at us daughter-in-laws, blubbering over his quips and blogging about him! Love that guy… and so did everyone he met. Nice tribute! Love you, Amy. It was good to see you, even if briefly. You comin’ back this weekend for the fam get-together? I hope so. I’ll have a little more time this weekend, I think. Let’s talk shop and be members of The Clean Plate Club in his honor.

    Emily

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    1. It was good for me to write this. I’ve been kind of bottled up in Reno. Thanks, Em. Yes, we’ll all be back this weekend for the get together. I’m sure we’ll stay through Easter Sunday. I love you, too. See you soon. – Amy

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  3. This is a lovely tribute to a very wise man. It’s sweet that you all will have these funny, odd gifts around and each time you stumble upon one you will have a fond memory of Fred and smile. What more can anyone ask than to be remembered fondly. My condolences to you and your family for your loss.

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    1. You’re so right about this. I can never part with these things now. It’s funny because we always joked about them. He knew they were silly, too. It was all about the gesture. Thanks, Michelle. I appreciate it.

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  4. The world can never have enough givers, thus a fitting tribute. Strength to you for your loss, but may he continue to give to you through his memories because those memories have healing powers.

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    1. Thank you for that, Frank. It’s good to always remember. I think his legacy will be how he was such a giver and he made people smile. In a nutshell, isn’t that what life is all about? Thanks.

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  5. I’m so sorry for your loss. Fred sounds like he was one of a kind.

    I love the pictures in this post and their placement. They add so much to it. And I love this line: “For those who think “They’re all there,” they’re the most confused of us all. As time passes you by, you realize you know less, not more.” So true.

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    1. Indeed, Ashley, Fred was one of a kind and touched many lives. He will be missed dearly. I’m glad you liked the pictures. They seem to capture my mood at the time and I just stumbled across that place. It’s like I was meant to be there. Thanks.

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  6. My father-in-law is nearing the end of his journey as well and it fills my heart with dread to envision a world without him.
    My deepest sympathy to you and yours.

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  7. Really, really sorry for your loss. The other day it hit me that my grandparents wouldn’t always be with me, and it stung so deeply as if they were already gone. That loss hurts, and I think you did a wonderful job of paying your respects in this post.

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