“Bang,” “Pow,” “Boom,” “Whap.” Sounds that are familiar to the original television series Batman show popular in the 1960’s. However, these sounds depict an exhilarating battle with fierce competitors. The eldest challenger of the two is more experienced and would be considered the favorite. The younger rival is less experienced but has the stamina of the energizer bunny. Neither opponent will give an inch, but as the clash continues lasting what seems like hours, eventually the will and endurance of the younger competitor outlasts the elder to a shocking victory for the unlikely winner.
What would seem to be an epic MMA fight or a match seen in WrestleMania is actually a light saber battle. Ultimately, in this case the younger competitor was my 5 year old son, Landon. The eldest would be none other than his Uncle.
In another event, a one sided basketball game was taking place somewhere on the asphalt of a front yard court. This is street ball: there are no rules, every man for themselves, fouling isn’t optional, it’s mandatory to survive. This is a kind of beat down if there was a scoreboard, the clock wouldn’t stop running in the second half, also known as the mercy rule. Elbows are being thrown towards the end of the game and almost to add insult to the whipping that is ensuing, the winning team blasts an amazing dunk for the final points to put an exclamation on the victory.
Similar scenes were shown in the movie “White Men Can’t Jump” released in 1992. However, this case played out in our front yard on a 3 foot goal. The winning team, John Brock, our three year old son. The losing team, his Uncle, who took a beating that day playing from his knees to ensure a fair competition.
Lastly, an elegant occasion where the dress code consists of men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns with gloves, all of which will only be worn for this special occasion. All guests are mingling among each other eating appetizers consisting of bruschetta, seared scallops, and grilled eggplant. The drink of choice is a mixture of pomegranate juice and freshly sliced pears. There is a live Jazz band with plenty of dancing. This night is magical, one that most only dream of. It ends with a chariot ride where closest friends laugh and excitedly exchange about the evening they had just experienced.
The little girl who dreams of such an elegant occasion in this case is my daughter, Laylah Kate. She lived out this fantasy recently with baby dolls and plastic food. The night was amazing in her eyes filled with excitement and adventure. Her date for the night was her Uncle.
Words are hard to come by in the face of tragic situations. Tragedy doesn’t show bias to a particular race, gender, or social status. Losing a loved one is a very difficult situation and although we don’t always understand and it is often hard for us to rationalize why this happens, we can cherish the prized memories made and share with others the impact and privilege of them being a part of our lives.
Heart of Gold, Gift of Serving Others, Kid at Heart, Family Man, Hard Worker, and Loving could all describe Russ Taylor. These descriptions do not scratch the surface of describing what type of person he was. My children were truly blessed with memories that will last a lifetime. During the moments spent with him, they were the center of his attention and in their young eyes each scenario described played out just as they were portrayed.
As our time with each other would come to an end, Russ would always say “If there is anything I can help you out with, let me know.” For some people, this is casual conversation, but this came from his heart. He would truly go out of his way to give you the shirt off his back. How great this world would be if we took on this servant attitude daily in our life.