Bob Hope Drive and Legacy

Bob_Hope_DriveLately I’ve been considering my lot in life. It’s a past time that I’ve entertained more than once in the last few years. Most of my blogs are recollections of the past, attempts at finding the good lesson in every situation or reliving a moment of personal glory when I was the star of a larger show (… theater of life stuff). Ok, one could surely argue I was more a jester than star, but it’s my blog, hence my vanity’s view will be embraced for the moment. Even the jester has his time in the spot light. Back to the ‘personal glory’ stuff….

As I returned from Phoenix in October I ventured for the very first time into Palm Springs. Since I lived in Phoenix for 16 year nothing about Palm Springs really impressed me. The finer homes and golf courses were all safely behind secured gates and walls, out of the view of commoners and would-be stalkers. As I approached the fabled desert town from the south I came across Bob Hope Drive. I was astonished to discover I wasn’t in Palm Springs yet, but in it’s lowly neighbor, Rancho Mirage.

Most soldiers in the field today know little about Bob Hope, their’s is a world of video games, cell phones, grunge music and internet chatting. Perhaps we shouldn’t have an expectation they recall his significance, afterall, most will never even cross Bob Hope Drive their entire lives.

For me, Bob Hope Drive is about legacy and the older I get the more important my legacy becomes. Remember, your legacy will be memorable to someone, good or bad and you WILL leave one, it is inevitable. Like Bob Hope, I want to leave something that will have a positive impact long after I have passed. For Bob it was his service to the Armed Forces abroad and the idea that their country has not forgotten them.

I took a drive one recent Saturday around Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Somehow I missed doing it in the past (like living in Seattle and never going to the Space Needle, or being from Washington DC and never taking the tour of the White House), I took it for granted it would always be there and I would someday make the trip. I planned the trip and despite poor weather, I kept my date with highway 101! I had a lovely travel companion (who shall remain nameless and faceless), we talked endlessly about life, family, religion and business. I recounted how I started a practice with loved ones some years ago of saying “I love you” as I hugged them goodbye. I made a point of it, no one departed for the evening without hearing it from me.

My father died without ever saying those words to me. I determined (sometime during the late 80’s) to make sure those I loved most would hear me say it. The lesson proved itself on January 3, 1994. January 1st, 1994 was the last time I saw my step-father of 23 years alive. We’d had a nice evening over dinner, he, my mom and my first wife. At the time of mom and John (that’s his name) leaving I went up to him and gave him a big hug and looked him in the eye saying “I love you dad.” He didn’t return the sentiment and muttered something sarcastic (not mean spirited though) to avoid using the words or really acknowledging what I’d said. I was good with saying it to him, he knew that I loved him…. two days later at 9:30 AM he died suddenly while at home. I was the last to see him alive besides my mother.

(While in Phoenix in October I wrote about this subject briefly as I detailed my near miss with death via a head-on collision. You can find the blog in my Highlighted links to the side, it’s entitled “Last time I said ‘I love you'”)

As I discussed this subject on the road trip that Saturday, it dawned on me…I changed my entire family’s conduct by how I applied myself. They all adhere to the practice of saying, “I love you” as they give their final goodbyes for the evening, not just with me but with everyone. Amazing to think I have a legacy now. It never dawned on me until this drive, and this conversation that my extended family is forever better because of something I modeled for them.

Bob Hope Drive is a good reminder that our lives can have a larger impact if we hold to the ‘good path’, and bring solid, timeless values to those we love. What is it you model for those around you?

Thanks for reading this far.


You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Rose J. says:

    My parents died about 10 years ago. I got to say I love you to both of them before they died. I grew up with parents who loved me dearly, but they were part of that Greatest (WWII) Generation where they worked hard, were good parents, but never were extremely physically affectionate, and the I love you's were never said daily, but shown in small affectionate doses. Dad would get embarrased when I told him I loved him, and Mom would hesitate and a lump would get in her throat, and she managed a "me too," response, but they were raised differently. Now, how did I turn out to be an I LOVE YOU person? I don't know, but I am extremely physically affectionate with my boys, and I say I love you constantly to them, and to my sister, and my friends, and my boyfriend Paul. It is the end of every conversation or sometimes in the middle of a conversation or it just comes out of the blue…we could be doing nothing, and I tell my boys, Hey I love you, and the response…I love you too mommy. My boys are free with their physical affection; they come up to me and hug me for no reason, just to get a hug and some affection, and I do the same with them. If I were to die tomorrow, there would be no question, no page unturned about the love I have for my kids. So somehow, this is my legacy too only they don't know it! They just take it for granted growing up with this type of love. Their father is very physically affectionate too, and he grew up with the same type of parents, loving, but not the I love you's said all the time, and no physical affection….I guess what Mark and I both did, was to take the love we grew up with but we expanded it more. I know what I am saying is not exactly what you have blogged about, but it got me to thinking…oh and I saw Bob Hope btw when he put on a show in Lawrence, Kansas about 25 years ago, it was awesome, and I took my mom. We had a blast and laughed ourselves silly. He was truly a great performer with a good heart. Thanks for the blog Tim, and thanks for letting me ramble. LOL.

  2. ugli says:

    For centuries men were bullied if they cried. Only facing death were men allowed to cry. The old generation of men knew not how to accept and express love.
    Tim you are of the new generation and you are even showing women in your family what true love is. You have indeed a legacy at your heel. Can you imagine your son as an adult. The way your son will treat his wife is a direct result of you towards him. You are a good father.

  3. Sandy B says:

    What a thought-provoking, terrific blog. My dad also died in 1994… I've said "I love you" at the end of nearly every visit or conversation, and my kids do too; it gives me a warm twinkle to hear them say it at the end of nearly every coversation with my ex or their grandmother. I'd never thought of that as a legacy though!
    Thanks for blogging,