Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mike Sherlock remembers the lesson from Dad

Mike Sherlock delivered these remarks at the service for Jerry on Saturday morning. Speaking for his brothers and sisters, he said very well what we all thought.

Today, as part of our services, there are salutes to Jerry Sherlock's years of military service during the
Second World War. It's to honor a young man who was presented with extraordinary challenges and
met them, head on.

I'd like to take a few minutes to reflect on something equally significant: He showed us the power in the
grace and dignity in the ordinary life he returned to.

Jerry didn't talk a lot about Christian values -- he lived them, and we watched him.

As a father, he gave us his time and his attention. Endless sporting events, long distance college move-in
trips, parent's committees -- there were six of us, and all very active. But you name it, and he was there.
No discussion; I'm pretty sure he never thought much about it. He said he'd be there, and he always
was. It's just what he did.

We grew up watching him being a friend; going out of his way to make his bachelor neighbor and coworker Bob feel like part of our family. After many years, Bob grew terminally ill, and my father was by
his side at every step - visiting him, driving him to appointments, managing his expenses. By the end, I'd
say Jerry was Bob's family. He never really talked about it to us. I just grew up thinking this is what a
man does.

Once, when I was young, we were out driving and stopped by a broken down car at the side of the road.
My father told the guy he'd help, and he did: we drove the guy to an auto parts store, waited for him,
and drove him back to his car. My father never said a word to me about it, you know; it was just an
ordinary day to him.

Jerry fought against the Japanese in the War. In the early Seventies, a Japanese family moved in
upstairs. My parents welcomed them into our house, and the little kids became Patti’s playmates. I was
around when someone asked him if living so close to Japanese people made him uncomfortable. He said
no, they’re just people. The Japanese soldiers didn’t want to be in the war any more than the Americans
did. And that was pretty much all he said about it. He kept that friendship going for many years; long
after the family had moved back to Japan.

When Jerry married Rita, he made a vow that included "in sickness and in health", and "till death do us
part". For 34 years, his love and respect for her were unwavering. When she was stricken with cancer,
we watched him at my mother's side until the very last second. And we know he meant every word of
his vow. He didn't talk about the vow to us, he simply kept it.

So on behalf of my brothers and sisters, I'd like to thank him for this gift he left. And of course, he never
talked about it, but he taught us this anyway:

Ordinary days --

  lived in devotion to others,

  with loyalty and respect, and

  with promises kept --

  these ordinary days will accumulate over a lifetime

  and become something quite extraordinary.

     And for that lesson, I'll be forever grateful.

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