integrity

If you want to know about a person, talk to those who know that person best…their family. Of course, I know my brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock, but nobody knows him as well as his wife and kids. I wanted to know what kind of dad Chris is, because that delves into a whole different dimension of the person he is. I asked his kids to tell me the one thing they loved most about their dad. The first thing I found out, was that these kids couldn’t give me just one thing. In fact, they had a hard time keeping it at just two or three things.

Jessi Sawdon is Chris and my sister, Allyn’s first child. Told me of how helpful her dad is. No matter what he has going, or how full his day is, he always finds time, somewhere in the day to come and help with whatever his kids needed. Their needs are always his priority. She also told me that when it comes to his grandbabies…Chris has the softest heart, and that those grandbabies think their grandpa hung the moon. On one hand, it’s hard for me to fathom Chris as softhearted, because of all the years he spent as a cop, and yet I think that most people who know Chris have seen that softhearted side at one time or another. Nevertheless, when it comes to grandbabies, every grandparent develops a soft heart where their grandbabies are concerned.

Ryan Hadlock, Chris and Allyn’s son, and second child, remembers going fishing with his dad. He remembers the lessons his dad gave him so that he could become a good fisherman, and he remembers…like it was just yesterday…that while his dad was teaching him to fly fish, that his dad caught 75 fish in one day!! Those father/son times were and always will be very special to Ryan. I know they were very special to his dad too. Ryan also told me that he loves to see the joy his dad gets…just from being with all of his kids and grandkids. There is nothing quite like knowing that your parents love you, your siblings, and your kids more than anything in the world.

Lindsay Moore, Chris and Allyn’s third child immediately said, “Oh man! One thing!?!?!? How is that possible?” That was the sentiment I got from all the kids. Lindsay told me about how tenderhearted her dad is. Lindsay’s favorite part of her dad is a side of him that not everyone gets to see. It is a side of Chris that is reserved for Allyn, their kids and the grandkids. It has been an enlightening thing to have all of these kids tell me, not about the strength everyone else saw in Chris for so many years on the police force, but about the very different man that came home from work each night to simply love on his family. Lindsay also told me about the way that Chris brought fun and laughter to their lives with his incredible witty and sense of humor.

Kellie Hadlock is Chris and Allyn’s youngest child. She was the first one to mention work ethic, saying that Chris is the hardest worker she knows and that he does everything with integrity…always doing the right thing! Kellie’s sweetest thought of her dad is that he is the best guitar player she know. One of her favorite things to do in the world, is to sing with her dad. Kellie loves singing, and when the two of them get together, it is truly beautiful. We all love hearing it, and can’t wait for the next time. Kellie says, “He is literally the best dad in the world!! Sorry there was no way I could have said just one thing!” Today is Chris’ birthday!! Thanks to all of his kids for their special tribute to their dad. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

We all have people that we look up to. Someone who inspires us…makes us want to be better than we are now. For me that person is my dad. My dad was the type of person who worked hard every day of his life to give his family the best he could. He sometimes worked two jobs to make ends meet in the tough times, and he never complained. He just took in all in stride. The love he felt for all his girls, my mom, my sisters, and me, was first and foremost on his mind. He was a person we could go to in times of trouble, worry or fear. He never looked at us as if we were being silly or ridiculous, but took our problems seriously, and did his best to help us with whatever it was.

My dad was not a man to cuss or to do anything that displayed a lack of self control. He was very slow to anger and quick to forgive. He hated injustice and even more, he hated disrespect, especially of the rights of other family members. He taught us to be the same, especially stressing that we “never let the sun go down on our wrath” or be quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness. We knew from an early age that to hold a grudge was wrong and only hurt the person who held a grudge. I can’t say that I have never held a grudge, but his words are something I have never forgotten and have tried to live by.

My dad had a kindness about him. He never liked it when people were mean to other people. He didn’t care what faults people had. They were people and should be treated with respect. He taught us to speak respectfully to others, especially our elders, something that we often see sorely lacking in today’s society. He taught us not to judge, because we had no way of knowing the whole story behind someone else’s actions.

There are many ways that I know I have not measured up to what my dad was, nor will I ever be able to. My dad was a rare breed. A gentleman in a time when they often didn’t exist. Kind when the style was to ridicule and tease others. Loving, when I was being rude, insesenitive, and unloveable. And mostly a friend and helper in time of need, but always, always a dad, who could be counted on in every way a dad should be able to be counted on. A dad who is there to guide, protect, teach, and nurture his children. I really miss that…love you Dad!!

My nephew Eric, brought his girlfriend to a family gathering about 2 years ago. We are a pretty big family, so I’m sure that was overwhelming to the extreme, but Ashley handled it very well. Before long, as we got to know her, I think everyone could see that these two wonderful people belonged together. They have so much in common, and with each passing day, the bond between them grows stronger and the love grows deeper. They will be a wonderful blessing to each other.

I have known Eric all of his life. I have watched him grow from a sweet little boy into a man who makes me very proud to be his aunt. He is a man of integrity, hard working, and very faithful and loving to Ashley. I wish I had known Ashley when she was young, because it doesn’t take much looking to see how special she is. I’m sure she was a great little girl too. I can see they were both raised by great parents to be great people, and they certainly are a couple of great people.

There are differences in how they were raised. She in the country, and he in town. Eric loves motorcycles and Ashley loves horses, but that doesn’t stop a mingling of the differences to create sameness. They both love animals…even Roo, now that Eric knows him better. Ashley was the only one who could see Roo’s true potential, but just as she expected, he grew on Eric and now they are best buddies. They both have a great sense of humor, which anyone who knows them and has seen them goofing off can attest to. All these things come together and create a couple, and that is what it is all about.

So, today they take the ultimate step in their relationship…marriage. All the plans have been made. Their preparations, along with the preparations of loving families and friends who have helped put together a wedding that will be remembered and cherished for the rest of their lives. Moving past a few little glitches, which they seemed to have taken in stride, they will now embark upon their journey into the rest of their lives. What their future hold, no one knows for sure, but I believe they will be able to handle whatever comes their way, and arrive comfortably together, hand in hand, to that place every marriage strives for…happily ever after. Congratulations Ashley and Eric!! I know you will be very happy!! I love you both very much!!

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