2013 HOF Speeches

May 18, 2064 – KLS to the HOF

kinglonestar avatar“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all for being here today. My name is Keelyn and I’m going to tell you a story today. Actually, I’m going to tell you a lot of stories; about the man of the hour, my Dad, Chris King.

I have the World’s Greatest Dad. How do I know I have the World’s Greatest Dad? Because he’s been reminding me of that fact for as long as I can remember. All kidding aside, he truly is the best Dad I could have ever hoped for. If it weren’t for my dad’s guidance and encouragement all these years, I likely would never have been able to achieve all of the great things I’ve set out to do.

When I was a little girl, my dad taught me to throw and catch a softball at a very young age. For as long as I can remember, he would come home from work, pick me up in his arms and say, “Hey there little angel. How about we go out there and work on that rise-ball of yours?” At the earliest stages, I didn’t even know what a rise ball was, but I loved playing ball with my Daddy, so I’d run to my closet and grab my ball and glove and out the door we would go. There were many days that we were out there until the sun went down. I cherish every pitch I ever threw to him. As I got older, I started to understand what a rise-ball was, and why he wanted to work on it so much. I also learned why he wanted me to learn to throw one left-handed. It felt more natural to throw right-handed, but he insisted that I learn it the other way. It was awkward for both of us, but we worked on it together as much as we needed to until I got really good at it. All that hard work paid off over the years. A left-handed hurler, like me, was in high demand in high school and college; so much so, that I got a full scholarship to Sam Houston State University, my dad’s alma mater, where I was a starter for four years while getting my Business Degree. Thank you, Daddy!

When I was a little girl, we lived in Cypress, Texas. Cypress was a suburb of Houston back then. Now it’s all grown together. Even though we were in the suburbs, it still felt like we just lived in the city to me. My grandparents lived out in the country so I knew what “the country” was, and where we lived was NOT “the country.” Back then, my Daddy always talked about moving out to the country. I didn’t really know why back then, but I soon came to understand why. When I was old enough, he took me to my first 4-H Meeting. For those of you who don’t know, 4-H is an organization that got kids involved with farming and farm animals. Since we lived in the city, we weren’t allowed to keep my animals at our house so we always had to keep them at my grandparent’s place out in the country. Daddy built all sorts of different cages, and pens, sheds, and barns over the years. I raised chickens and sheep and pigs and cows, and all sorts of other animals over the years. He would drag me out of bed at 5AM and off to the barn we’d go… whether I wanted to or not! For the most part, I loved it. Those times together with my Daddy will always be some of my best memories and I just hope my mind can hold on to them. Some of my friends who were “city-kids” (as Daddy like to call them) didn’t understand why a girl like me had to do some of the things we did. Heck, I didn’t even know why sometimes. But looking back, it is all crystal clear now. You see, he taught me so much more than how to change the water for my chickens, or how to nurse a newborn calf with a bottle, or how to let go when one of my hogs got sick and died. He taught me about life without me even knowing it. It was happening right there in front of my eyes and I couldn’t even see it. There were a lot of lessons that I learned in those times I spent with him cleaning the barn and taking care of those animals. I learned more from him, than all the books in the world could ever teach someone. Thank you, Daddy!

How many of you have ever bought a box of Girl Scout cookies? Thank you from the bottom of my heart! It is because of generous people like you that little girls all over this great land of ours are able to travel the country and experience new things. I was a Girl Scout once. My Daddy insisted on it. The family joke was that he just wanted me in Girl Scouts so he would always have a steady supplier every year. My Daddy used to LOVE his Girl Scout cookies every year. One of the most important business lessons I ever learned was when I was a Girl Scout. And I learned it from my Daddy. Every year, when it was time to sell cookies, he and I would work on my sales pitch. Well, HE would work on my sales pitch! To my Daddy, selling those cookies wasn’t about cookies at all. I never sold a single box without having to tell every single customer why I was selling those cookies. It went a little something like this: “Good evening Sir! My name is Keelyn and I am with the Girl Scouts of America. Have you heard of the Girl Scouts of America? That’s great! The Girl Scouts of America helps girls like me go to summer camp with all of my fellow girl scouts for three weeks in the summer. You may think that summer camp is all about fun, and songs and s’mores. It is so much more than that for me. It is going to help me learn to become a responsible young lady who always finds a way to achieve her dreams. I have a delicious box of cookies for sale and the money I earn will help me reach my goal. You want to help me reach my goal, don’t you?” And that’s the part where he taught me to look at them with my “pouty face” as he called it! I sold out every single year I was ever in Girl Scouts. I didn’t find this out until much later in life, but on the years that I had boxes left over, he bought every single box I had left in my inventory. Thank you, Daddy!

About 52 years ago, my Daddy made a monumental decision that likely forever altered many of the outcomes of my life. He made this decision when I wasn’t quite 2-years old so I never even knew about it until just a few days ago. This single decision very well could be responsible for every lesson he ever taught me. If he hadn’t made that decision, he may have been taken from me long ago. On his 37th birthday, October 17, 2012, he made a conscious decision to quit dipping snuff. I never knew he ever had such a nasty habit until he told me just the other day. He spent an hour or so talking about how he used to use tobacco when he was younger. I was shocked! Not only did I never know, but my Daddy is the LAST person on Earth that I would have ever imagined using tobacco. Any time he saw someone using snuff or smoking a cigarette, he would ask them why they were being so selfish. He’d tell them how they were robbing their families of precious moments of life together. It always embarrassed me and my Mom, but he would always ask them how they could choose their habit over their own spouse and children. Every time he finished a conversation with someone about that, he would walk over to me and my Mom and give us a hug and a kiss and tell us he loved us. I didn’t know then, but I now know why he did it. Thank you, Daddy!

I have in my hand a piece of paper. My Daddy handed me this piece of paper 4 days ago. On this piece of paper are a word, and a number. It reads, “Day 18,836.” When he handed me this piece of paper, I just looked at it and in a confused tone asked him, “What’s this, Daddy?” He said, “That’s what today is. Today is Day 18,836 of my quit. My mind may not be the sharpest, but I always know what day it is in my quit.” I asked, “Your quit from what, Daddy?” “My quit from nicotine,” he replied. And that is how the conversation started about him being a nicotine addict. He talked, and I listened for an hour or so while he talked about how much fun and happiness he’s had in his life because of his quit. If he had had the strength, he’d have been puffing his chest out. I saw and heard a pride in his voice that I hadn’t heard in quite some time. He told me that his quit was how he met some of his life-long friends. I had even met many of them over the years, but had no idea really that he knew them because they were all quitters together. There are even some of you here today. I was fascinated by the stories he told me, and about how he had actually helped lots of other people quit the nicotine habit over the years. He told me, “Besides marrying your Mama, it was probably the best decision I ever made?” We had a big laugh about that one. After the laughter subsided, he got a calm look on his face. He pulled on my hand, so I leaned over and gave him a big hug and a kiss. He said, “I love you, Keelyn. I’ll see you soon, my little angel.” Then, he leaned his head back, closed his eyes and whispered, “I quit for good, you bunch of JackWagins. I’m goin’ to the Hall of Fame.”

My Daddy was 89 years old when he passed 4 days ago. He lived a long, prosperous and happy life. In the last days, we spent a lot of time reflecting on all the things we’d done together and all of my successes in life. When I was with him, it was always all about me. All he seemed to care about was helping build me into a successful woman. Whether it was perfecting that rise-ball, nursing that calf, or selling that last box of Thin Mints, he was always pushing me to figure out a way to improve. He always loved me no matter what.

I’ll miss you, Daddy. I’ll always be your “Little Angel,” and I’ll see you soon! Thank you, Daddy!”

Wow – I hope I can live up that eulogy when it comes my time to go.

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan.org forum member kinglonestar

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