Saturday, October 27, 2007

Birthday Tributes

As most of you know, the four oldest siblings pulled off quite a surprise birthday breakfast party for Dad. (For how they got the word out, see www.brotherhassell.com.) We so wish you all could have been there! There were about 100 people in attendance and I think Dad was both surprised and touched. I kept thinking that everyone should have at least one party like this before they die so they can get a sample of what might be said at their funeral! Anyway, the seminary students sang this song, written by Trina to the tune of "Under the Sea":

We all go to Sem-in-a-ry
We all go across the street
We study with Brother Hassell
We like to hang out and eat

We come home with testimonies
We're edified through and through
But sometimes we come home bloody
Cause we're playing Brute Ball too

Oh no!

Sem-in-a-ry
Sem-in-a-ry
Those who survive get strawberry pie
Eventually
We got a bag of cer-e-al
Forty-five flavors in a bowl
Lots of devotion mixed with commotion
Sem-in-ary

In classes with Brother Hassell
We recommend whispering
Cuz if we get too obnoxious
He'll thump us all with his ring

But if you pay attention
And listen to what he said
Then after you answer questions
He'll throw chocolate at your head

Oh no!

Sem-in-a-ry
Sem-in-a-ry

Those who survive get strawberry pie
Eventually
We got a bag of cer-e-al
Forty-five flavors in a bowl
Lots of devotion mixed with commotion
Sem-in-ary

Sem-in-a-ry
His dedication to education's
Legendary
Thanks to his blood and tears and sweat
We are as righteous as they get
Learnin' the truth
While we're in our youth
In Sem-in-a-ry

And from his children (composed by Marla):

Dear Dad,

This letter is from your children. We want you to know how grateful we are for you.

It is only in the latter part of my life that I have learned that not every dad in the world is like you. I thought every Dad nurtured and cared for his children and wife. I thought every Dad took their family camping, every vacation, no matter where we were. I didn’t even think families were ALLOWED in hotels. I believed all families were relegated to campsites

Every guy I have ever dated is amazed when I can sling on a pack and go into the mountains, that I prefer it there. I thought every twelve-year-old girl was taken to climb Mt. Thielsen on her birthday because we had already done Mt. McLoughlin so many times. I thought every child arose at 6 AM to work heavy machinery and weed the garden.

In fact when I was at John Clason’s a few years ago and he was banging on the roof at 5 am, I snuggled deeper into my sheets feeling comforted at work going on in the wee hours of the dawn. It felt like my dad was up there.

I thought every Dad loved rescue missions – the farther the better. Every Dad must have sent their children with envelopes of cash to the poorest in the neighborhood on Christmas Eve. Every Dad could knock out a wall and put on an addition to a house with seeming ease, just as you did when you added two bedrooms, a family room, an expanded kitchen and a master bath to our own house, with your own hands. I thought every dad could build playhouses, tents, fly every kite and still tickle you until you couldn’t breathe and begged for mercy.

I thought every child must have a Dad who was both your Seminary Teacher and Bishop. I couldn’t skip ANYTHING. I knew your firm discipline was never, ever failing. I couldn’t get away with anything. Thank you Dad, so much.

I have learned that the world is, in fact, NOT full of dads like that- that OUR Dad, my Dad- is very, amazingly and completely unique. He’s one-of-a-kind, in all the very finest ways. I can’t ever think of a time when you chose something else you may have wanted to do over us. Rare was the afternoon spent watching ball or hiking unless it somehow involved us.

I could go on forever about the ways that my Dad is great. All of you already know this, the greatness and fineness of my Dad...

Dad, you really proved your love for all of us almost 16 years ago when Mom had her accident. In those first very dark days, I remember a nurse approaching me in the kindest way, warning me that 95% of Dads didn’t stick around after an accident like this. I remember just thinking and knowing, “You don’t know MY Dad”. I knew that you would pull us all through it, and you did and you have, and you still are.

We all still went to college, and you didn’t miss one week of piano lessons for 8 more years. Just this Fathers Day I spoke to you and said that as an adult I realized that you had your choice then. Your answer was “I made that decision 22 years before when I married your mom.”

More recently when I lived with you and Mom for an extended time I was amazed at the load that you still carry. I was astonished that you never asked to be relieved, never accepted offers of relief and in all that time I never heard one word of complaint, only earnest desires that things could be different somehow for the both of you.

I know you had some worldly aspirations. You wanted to go on that International Folk Dancing tour and Grandpa convinced you to knuckle down and serve a mission instead. You wanted to spend some wild dating days back at BYU after the mission and instead took a chance on a recent convert and waited 8 months to marry her in the temple. I’m certain there were lots of other cars besides Minivans and Suburbans that you wanted to drive.

There are many adventures that I’m sure that you long for. However, in the eternal scheme Dad, you are our Superhero and your dedication will be lauded by all of us, our posterity, and countless others-forever. If you look around in our faces, you will see that you already are.

Thanks for sticking it out. It has made all the difference to all of us. We love you, forever.

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