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She asked for prayer for her mother who expressed discouragement over the death of her sister. The issue lay in the number of her siblings left. At 82 she increasingly saw the reality of her own mortality.

Standing to officiate a funeral this past Wednesday, I could not help but think the gentleman whom we would remember that afternoon was my own father’s age. I thought of this as I read Barry Tramel’s piece (08/24/07) in The Oklahoman, “Farewell to the man who was always on my side.

Dad never said much about what I wrote. Occasionally, he would say he liked something, which was nice, and he never said anything when I ripped OU, his alma mater, which was nicer.

A quick story: When I was a kid, Dad would take us to the state basketball tournaments, sometimes drop me and my brother off, when we were old enough to navigate State Fair Arena. On championship Saturday, the whole family would go, and between sessions one year, I was probably 14, I sent the rest of the clan out to get dinner and I stayed behind to stand in line and grab us front-row seats.

I snagged some seats, fending off a grouchy old woman who claimed the seats were hers.

Later that night, between games, the legendary Bertha Frank Teague was honored by the state association. I looked at Teague and my eyes got big. “Dad,â? I said. “That’s the woman who tried to steal our seats.â?

Dad was a girls basketball fan. He coached in Norman, Noble, Strang, Longdale and Gueda Springs, Kan. You probably never heard of some of those hamlets, but they once were thriving little communities that revolved around their ballteams.

Anyway, Dad is someone who respected Bertha Frank Teague and all she did for girls basketball.

Fast forward to July 22. That’s the last day Dad talked to me. The next morning, I flew to San Antonio, and the day after that Dad fell into his coma.

July 22 is also the day we listed our top 100 coaches/contributors in Oklahoma history. I did the rankings. I put Bertha Frank Teague third, behind only Bud Wilkinson and Henry Iba.

Unsolicited, Dad said he didn’t care for the list. I asked why.

He said Bertha Frank Teague was too high.

“You don’t like Bertha Frank Teague?â?

No, he said. “Not since she had that run-in with you.â?

He was on my side until the very end.

We could only hope to invest on our children in the way Barry’s Father did.

Barry, thanks for sharing about your dad.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.