….always carried a pocket calendar. He carried it in the breast pocket of his suit coat. Every January he would change it out. The first three months were always filled. I honestly don’t remember what (if anything) he ever put on the following months.
January was always my mother’s sizes. Dress. Blouse. Skirts. Shoes. Hats. Just in case he was walking by a store and saw something he liked ~ that he thought had her name on it. Or if (yet again) Christmas snuck up on him and it was 4 pm on Christmas Eve.
February was 100 of his favorite songs in his favorite keys. No music. Just the titles and the keys. Mockingbird Sang in Barkley’s Square. Misty. Seventeen. Somewhere Over the Rainbow. If he was ever walking by a piano, he could just sit down and play for hours.
March was 100 of his favorite jokes. Just the punch lines. This way if he was ever walking around downtown with a twist ice cream cone from Burger King and somebody said, “Clark have you heard any good jokes lately?” My dad could pull out joke #37 and off he’d go.
My sisters and I are his living legacy. There could be nothing better. And although I can see parts of my parents in each of them, I leave that telling to Claud and Bets.
For me, I know my Dad lives in me when I’m driving home from work and know I need to get this and that and those done, because the Red Sox are playing on ESPN at 7. Or when I use a baseball analogy to explain something that is true with my life. Or when I’m listening to George Shearing on Pandora and know most all of the songs. Or when I can’t help it…somebody gives me a straight line and I have to say the next part…
Clark Whaley Brogan was an incredible human. He loved his God, family and his community. He loved the Red Sox. He loved laughter. He loved playing jazz on the piano until 2 in the morning ~ most every night. He took a 15 minute nap everyday after lunch. He could remember names with the best of them ~ walking into a room with a 100 people soon became an adventure of taking roll, shaking hands and saying hello to just about each one. He couldn’t cook worth a lick, so he was content with everything he made for himself being served in a bowl (soup, cereal or ice cream). He loved jogging ~ would jog 2-5 miles a day depending on how much time he had. He loved playing golf or throwing a ball in the front yard or shooting hoops on our driveway basketball court. He loved the dogs we owned that he would walk every night after the news was over (“Mr. Chips just took me for 2 miles”). He loved Marine Corps. He loved playing piano at church ~ especially with Mrs. V. He loved my mother, truly. And he loved my sisters and me.
I miss how we would talk and walk. I miss driving to FLA or CT and everybody else being asleep in the car, and the two of us memorizing the Presidents. I miss going to baseball games together. I miss his laugh. I miss listening to him play the piano ~ in a way only he could play. I miss watching him talk to people.
He’s in me and for that I am so very thankful.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.