i’m a bee right now, landing on memory-flowers
maybe i can make them into honey
maybe that’s a way to share you
with those to come those you never knew those like me who want more
an endless jar of memory-honey
sitting on the pantry shelf of my heart
halcyon father-daughter days golden and sweet transformed into words
you were the essence of goodness and light
that’s why I want to share you
with those to come those you never knew those like me who want more
~ i’ll be making memory-honey for the rest of my days
This is just another little poem from a grieving and grateful daughter – I’m sure there will be more as I process this new life in the world without him. Thank you for reading it and allowing me to share my remarkable Dad. For more about him and the amazing childhood he and my mom made possible:
Readers of this blog will know that my Dad died unexpectedly less than two weeks ago. Like anyone who loses a loved one, I’ll be processing this for a while. Not in a maudlin or “poor-pitiful-me” way; its just that my world has changed forever. Aside from sadness and nostalgia, my overwhelming feeling is one of gratitude for the gift of having a wonderful Dad for so many years, one who loved me (and so many others) with his whole heart. And so, a haiku:
joy-sorrow feelings how long will i love-miss you? ten times forever
The Glover Gardens family suffered a huge loss last week when my father died unexpectedly. He was an amazing man.
Thomas Frank Harvell, 78, climbed the stairway to heaven on June 21, 2017. Mourning him while knowing he waits to be joined, are Lucy Harvell, daughter Kim Glover and her husband Tom, grandsons Thomas Wenglinski and Brandon Glover, granddaughters Melyssa and Joie Harvell and their mother Noemi Edington, stepson Matt Kiely and his wife Dawn, grandsons Everett and Ryan Kiely, and two-time mother-in-law Ruth Holt. He is also survived by his siblings Kenneth Harvell, Lynda Brashears and Connie Donnelly and their beloved families. Preceding Frank in death were his first wife, Nancy Harvell, his son, Steven Harvell, and his father and mother, Thomas Ezra and Memery Harvell.
Many others from all parts of Frank’s life join the immediate family in this complicated mix of sorrow and celebration: the extended Harvell, Smith, Cleckler, Holt and Hiatt tribes, lifelong friends from his childhood in hot and dusty Sweetwater, Texas to his many decades further south in various parts of hot and muggy Southeast Texas, a host of fellow believers from all of the churches where he was a member, and colleagues and customers from his years of technology sales with Motorola and Kay Electronics.
Frank loved without judgment, with his whole heart. With his profound sense of loyalty, honor and integrity, Frank’s rock-solid advice was frequently sought and almost always taken. A believer, his faith sustained him through family crises and illness, and he never lost his hope or sense of humor. Frank’s character and sunny, sturdy, pragmatic attitude drew others to him, and he was a true servant leader. He was active in church leadership and taught Sunday school for almost all of his adult life.
“Family man” is an over-used phrase, and yet it is just right for Frank. His intense devotion to his first wife Nancy never waivered, from their early poor (and extremely happy) years, to their tranquil days at the beach in Gilchrist, and through her later decades of illness. Sometimes he was both father and mother to Kim and Steve while they were growing up, and he embraced this responsibility. After Nancy’s death, Frank was blessed a second time, this time with the sweetness of a late marriage to Lucy.
Not one to sit still, Frank worked as a part-time consultant for Kay Electronics and Motorola well into his 70s. (He didn’t want to retire until his last client did.) After retirement, he had more time for his hobbies, including travel (both with and without grandchildren), woodworking, vegetable gardening, reading, photography and following his grandchildren on Facebook so he could brag about them. Together with Lucy, Frank was a super-volunteer, serving various churches and charitable organizations. Over the past few years and until his illness, when they weren’t organizing food drives, or community repair days for shut-ins and the elderly, or fundraisers, Frank spent nearly 40 hours a week helping to revitalize and re-launch Tomball Emergency Assistance Ministries (TEAM).
In addition to his fundamental goodness and old-fashioned manners, Frank was downright funny. His gap-toothed grin and quirky quips will always be remembered. He loved music, old movies, southern food and grandchildren and was always happy to share a story from his innocent childhood, or a lesson he learned from the parents he revered. His smile and stories will be missed by many.
Frank is now at peace after his yearlong illness and is probably either playing the trumpet with the Angel Gabriel or enjoying a chicken fried steak with St. Peter. On Saturday, June 24, at 3:00 p.m. a memorial service will be held at Tomball United Methodist Church, 1603 Baker Drive in Tomball, Texas to honor his most wonderful life. And then afterwards in the fellowship hall, snacks will be served while we gather to comfort each other, share stories and celebrate this remarkable man. He declared recently, “When I go, hold a party!” Frank’s legacy is for us to laugh often, love without judgment, live with joy, and hold our families close.
More to come on this topic; my Dad was my muse. Did I say he was a remarkable person? Here are some of the posts he inspired, either directly or because I knew he would take pleasure in them:
Don’t you just feel the festive nature of that rehearsal dinner evening echoed in the daisies below? They speak of hope and laughter and love. Daisies are such simple flowers, but they almost vibrate and glow in their positivity.
Another picture that really struck me from the rehearsal dinner was this one, the generous front porch at our wedding venue in the Texas Hill Country. The “little thing” that stands out in this picture is the mood set by the twinkle lights, or as they call them in the UK, “fairy lights”. Friends and family sat, and talked, and rocked, and told stories for hours on that summer night before our wedding, the beginning of a long tradition of sitting, talking, rocking and story-telling.
It’s the little things that make a life, a family, a story, a friendship, a party, a love, a marriage.
Me so pale and you so brown, our real colors – our hearts – match completely.s
I read this blog post tonight, and knew it was about me ‘n you.
Here’s the post, written by another wonderful lady, who obviously has had a relationship like ours, with some brown or fair sister of her own.
You wanted me to write you something and I couldn’t think of what what don’t you know about the way you’re a part of me of my every breathing moment you’re never far from thought and I’m always thinking of your smile and how we laugh when we’re together and you get my sense of […]
Our Family Mourns, with the Millennial Out in Front
My 19-year old son made this heartfelt post on Instagram last night after learning of the death of Robert Osborne, the longtime public face of Turner Classic Movies (TCM):
Hearing of this man’s passing today hit my whole family pretty hard – Robert Osborne was, as the LA Times perfectly summed up today, “everyone’s favorite movie date”. Hosting the bulk of Turner Classic Movies’s weeknight programming, he always presented the perfect cure for a rough day at work or school or just in general – the best and most beloved movies America’s rich cinematic history has to offer. Sometimes it was a movie already heralded as a masterpiece (i.e. Casablanca, Roman Holiday, In the Heat of the Night, etc.), and sometimes it was something you’d never heard of before but were bound to love (The Louis Pasteur Story, The Day of the Jackal, etc.).
And regardless of the movie, you always felt a sense of a shared experience with the TV knowing that Robert would be there at the beginning to tell you a bit about it, and again at the end to make a few closing remarks and perhaps share a quick funny story or two.
This man shaped both my parents’ admiration for the power of movies, and by introducing me to TCM as a child, they allowed him to do the same for me.
Godspeed, Mr. Osborne.
Oh my. I feel this on so many levels. TCM has truly been a bedrock platform for my son’s childhood, with Robert Osborne its magnificent maestro.
Superficial, and Yet…Not
Movies are so trivial, you may say. Why is the young man so upset about the death of a movie-describer? Well sure, movies are not on the same level as these topics: religion, philosophy, civic responsibility, political movements and unrest, historical milestones, war, social mores, filial devotion, deep friendship, great loves and sacrifice…but oh, I guess they are, actually. Movies are a reflection of us, of our culture, in all its brilliance and trivial insignificance and intransigence. Movies cover every one of these important areas of life, and can at the same time reflect our most idealistic and our most base instincts and beliefs. For example, my son mentioned “In the Heat of the Night”; was there ever a better movie to expose the stupidity of institutional racism? Robert Osborne’s introduction of this movie is a thing for the ages. With all of his movie intros and outros, he helped us understand the context of the time in which they were made, and their historical and current cultural significance.
Family Bonding; Movies as Connection
I was a single mom for a time. My one little boy-child and I watched movies together on TCM on a nightly basis – when there wasn’t a school event, a baseball game, rehearsal for a church play or a family event. Fred and Ginger were frequent companions, Errol Flynn was a familiar face, and we even named a cat after William Powell in My Man Godfrey. My son can wax poetic about the virtues of The Philadelphia Story vs. the remake, High Society; the same with regard to Fred Astaire vs. Gene Kelly. He paid me one one of my favorite compliments ever: “Mom, you remind me of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”(that would be the Marilyn Monroe character, and yes, I’m vain enough to think that is a compliment).
The kid is a man-child now and off to college to study jazz composition. I think of movies, randomly, and text him. Have you seen The Graduate? Yes, saw it at Grandma and Grandpa’s last summer. The Night of the Hunter? Yes, watched it with Dad. Sunset Boulevard? Yes, Aunt Julie showed it to me the last time I was in Virginia. The kid definitely gets his movie appreciation from both sides of his family.
Guys and Dolls is one of our favorites, and when I sent him a text with this clip during his first semester of college, he said: “Recognized it before i even hit play! #askmehowdoifeel”, which is a reference to the song from the movie, If I Were a Bell. (This would be the point where I should acknowledge that my own love for movies comes from my Dad, who introduced me to all of these classics the first time around. Thanks, Dad!)
Goodbye, Mr. Classy
Ben Mankiewicz gave a brief farewell to Robert Osborne tonight before the start of the movie I’m watching right now, Anne of 1000 Days. He described Robert Osborne as a man who loved movies, actors, and fans, who had “class, wit and charm”. Yes. Below is a short tribute, in advance of a longer one TCM will air later this month.
What We Mean Is…
It is really hard to explain why we are so sad about losing Robert Osborne. We didn’t know him. He didn’t know us. But. His introductions to the movies that became the vernacular of our lives shaped our understanding of them, and their meaning. Movies become shorthand for power-packed pellets of meaning: how many times have you quoted a brief line of a movie to make a point?
“We don’t need no stinking badges!”
“Tomorrow is another day.”
“At long last, have you no sense of decency?”
“There’s no place like home.”
“You can’t handle the truth!”
“We’ll always have Paris.”
“There’s no crying in baseball.”
“Go ahead, make my day.”
“May the Force be with you.”
Robert Osborne translated these truisms and anachronisms for us when he explained the meaning of classic films, and made them accessible. He also just seemed like a very nice guy. To quote my son the millennial, “Regardless of the movie, you always felt a sense of a shared experience with the TV knowing that Robert would be there at the beginning to tell you a bit about it, and again at the end to make a few closing remarks and perhaps share a quick funny story or two.”
Are You a Classic Movie Lover? Win a Prize
Do you share our love of classic movies? We will send a copy of the book Turner Classic Movies Essentials to the first follower to correctly identify the movies from the ten quotes above in a comment.