Besides knowing that today is National Taco Day, I do know that lending is more than just numbers, and that lots of people in the business had close family involved in parts of history. The hundreds of thousands of people who lend, or who count lenders as their clients, all have backgrounds that have varying degrees of “history.” I was reminded of this last Saturday, and through the week, after I published some notes on my Dad who had died that week, and I received many nice notes of condolence. Some of those included historical comments about family members, reminding me that the people in this biz have lives that are not only intertwined with their clients but also with historical events, big and small.
I received this note from Tennessee. “Rob, we recently lost my grandfather. Like your father he was never one to tell too many stories about World War II, but he did admit that during December and January of 1944/1945 he was a gunner on a Sherman tank that helped relieve soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division surrounded by the enemy in Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge. As best I can tell, he was part of Patton’s Third Army.
“But he never wanted to talk about the fighting. He preferred to talk about the townspeople of Bastogne and how they didn’t want to leave their homes, the soldiers eating out of their helmets, and the bitter cold. I bring this up because after the war he took advantage of the GI Bill and went to college to become an engineer. In the late 1940s he and my grandmother were able to buy a home with the help of a local bank, and they settled down to raise a family that included my Mom. My grandparents were always thankful to that bank for helping them finance a home purchase, and my grandfather was very proud of me when I went into this business ten years ago.”
Kevin Kelker shared, “Your dad sounds like a great dad in that he was a straight shooter and told it like it is. Like you, we shared growing up in the bay area when it still produced fruit. Your dad was Navy, and mine was an Army man. They both shared the same opinion about Korea (my dad was in the Korean War), and Korea is cold as (you know what). I’m sure like you, your dad was your best friend. Dying may be inevitable, but the loss remains for us both.”
Joseph Tatulli wrote, “I lost my dad ten years ago. He was a wonderful person and a twice honored Bronze Star vet of WW2. He landed in France about two weeks after D-Day, and made it all the way to Germany.” (More history by clicking on Joseph’s name above.)
From Maryland I received, “My wife and I will be making our regular Saturday visit to my father-in-law. He is in a nursing home, but I mention it because he was aboard the USS Quincy on the coast of France on D-Day. We celebrated his 96th birthday in March. And I too am the son of a Chief Petty Officer who served in the Pacific in WWII. Sadly, we lost him many years ago; He was 64 when he passed. I would not have felt the urge to write to you until the very end of your piece – when you demonstrated your Dad’s sense of humor. I laughed out loud and realized that there must have been a Dad’ Guide to Humor published during that era because it sounded so familiar.”
(Speaking of humor, I also received this. Dad’s humor? His headline was: “250 Men Lay Virginia Pipeline”. Except that he pronounced the last name as “Pippalini”.)
Rob Marr telegraphed, “My 97-year old grandfather (Bob) recently passed away. My grandfather’s story and your father’s story were remarkably similar. He enlisted in the Army during WWII, and was in the Pacific. Grandpa Marr still had his wit and his mind was sharper than mine. Like your father, a fall and a broken bone ultimately lead to his passing. Here is a link to Grandpa’s obituary. It does a great job of describing his life. By-the-way, he had a great nickname. S.O.B. (Sweet Old Bob). It was perfect. He was one of the sweetest gentlemen, but could be an ornery S.O.B. when he wanted.
Brenda Brendle, who recently retired after 50 years in the biz, relayed, “I lost my father in law a couple of years ago and he was 96 and also in the Navy on the Yorktown. I just lost his brother who was one day short of 101 and he was in the Army at Pearl and he was exactly like your dad to the end. They had another brother that was in the Navy and he was in the war and he lived to be over 100. The three of them took the Flight of Honor to Washington DC from Winston-Salem and it was the first time they had ever had 3 brothers take the trip. What great memories we all have.”
Boulder’s Gary Baraff sent, “My Dad also was in the military, but contracted an exotic autoimmune disease in Burma & died when I was 15. He was a well-known athlete in Pittsburgh, where I grew up. My Mom was a nurse in WWII when she was 25 & fell in love with a Captain, who on the day the war ended told her he was married & had a family. That turned out well for me. She died 21 years ago.”
From North Carolina Mary Anne Young wrote, “My father was also one of the 16 million who served in WW II and also served in the Korean Conflict. He was army and passed away in 1998. These men were the definition of honor, integrity and loyalty. Noteworthy? Unquestionable in my opinion.”
Martie Stott sent, “As I read your thoughts, I remembered by Dad, an Army Veteran (Colonel) of WWII and Korea with the same fondness. My Dad passed at 84 in 2000 after teaching me everything a mortgage professional wanted to know about the title business and especially troubleshooting the examining result.”
Shifting from WWII to middle America, Kent Carter sent, “I wrote an obituary for my father-in-law just days before he passed almost two years ago. I was able to help take care of him daily during the last few years of his life. The last time I spoke to him as he was saying goodbye to dozens of folks who had come from as far away as Mississippi and Kentucky. I told him I had sure learned a lot from him over the years. He grinned and said he had not learned much from me!
“On Saturday we were in Hollis in far southwest Oklahoma for the Home Going Celebration for my father-in-law GD Carrick’s sister-in-law. She was also my dad’s first cousin (yes, in small towns families tend to be intertwined by marriage). Before we went ‘Down in The River to Pray’ at the service, Kelcie and I asked our daddy if he wanted to go by the Hollis Livestock Auction. This was the place he spent every Saturday as a cattle seller and an order buyer for a myriad of folks over the years.
“He said, ‘No. All those guys are gone now.’ We assured him there were plenty of people there he would know. I suspect he didn’t want me to hassle with getting his wheelchair across the heavily graveled parking lot and told him that it was no trouble. It is always no trouble, but GD remains fiercely independent and fears putting any of us out.
“After we made the journey in the chair I looked back and it was as if he had just rode in the covered wagon that brought my grandmother to that part of Oklahoma before statehood. The ruts reminded me hard work provided a living for so many generations in a land that could be harsh. But that sandy soil sitting on a great aquifer made a home for friendly folks who were interested in being a part of community.
“The sounds of the large bellowing herd impatiently waiting their turn in the ring cut through the crisp air of the November morning. The smell of money was unmistakable. Everything inside was clean, but well used. Cowboys were sitting outside the auction room drinking coffee and sharing news of the area. Several spoke to GD as I pushed him into the action.
“I stationed his chair near the entrance so he could look around as he watched the cattle move through the ring. The young men working the gates on both ends of the ring were using leather whips with small red flags on the end that would pop the air with the flick of a wrist and keep the cattle moving. The steady staccato cadence of the auctioneer shared with the discerning crowd pertinent information for the sale of each lot.
“As GD settled into the rhythm of the moment, a broad grin appeared on his face. The same grin we had enjoyed over the years, but had somewhat disappeared as age melted away some of his joy. He was completely present in the moment. Familiar sounds and sights made his eyes dart back and forth as the cattle seemed to dance in front of him.
“Almost immediately men and women started coming over to greet him. ‘GD, how are you doing?’ was a familiar tag. Each time he would smile with delight and say, ‘Fine.’ They shook his hand, hugged his neck, and let him know it was good to see him. You could see the looks on their faces making him sit up a little higher, speak with a stronger voice, and share that special moment with those who knew him in a younger man’s body.
“For about forty-five minutes he held court. The sounds of the auction continued. The cattle were sold. And GD was at ‘home’ one more time. It was time to leave for the church service. Our wily, old cowboy waved goodbye with the same hand motion they all remembered when he was the sly buyer sitting in the stands and making a good many people a living with his skill.
Later that afternoon on the way home he kept saying how much he had enjoyed the trip. He had seen many family members and friends at the service. When he started recounting how much fun it had been to go to the sale barn, I said, ‘GD, you are a legend!’ He turned his face towards mine and with a huge grin simply said, ‘Yeah.’
“It was good for me to see family and friends that knew me in those long-ago days when I hopped on my bicycle and disappeared around Hollis without my mom worrying about where I might be all day. Recalling good memories is cleansing. I am forever grateful that for one precious, fleeting moment I got to witness my personal trail boss’s return to Cowboy Heaven….”
HOW THE INTERNET STARTED ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE
Please do not Google or check with Snopes. They will lie to you.
In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a healthy young wife by the name of Dorothy. And Dot Com was a comely woman, large of breast, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.
And she said unto Abraham, her husband, “Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?”
And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, “How, dear?”
And Dot replied, “I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. The sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah’s Pony Stable (UPS).”
Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.
To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures – Hebrew to the People (HTTP).
And the young men did take to Dot Com’s trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS. And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. Indeed he did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates’ drumheads and drumsticks.
And Dot did say, “Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others.” And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or eBay as it came to be known. He said, “We need a name that reflects what we are.”
And Dot replied, “Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators.” “YAHOO,” said Abraham. And because it was Dot’s idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.
Abraham’s cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot’s drums to locate things around the countryside.
It soon became known as God’s Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).
That is how it all began. And that’s the truth! You can’t make this stuff up!
Visit www.robchrisman.com for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “How Productive is Your Origination Team?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
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