The morning began with a thunder clap, giving way to buckets of rain on this second day of April, 2009.  On any other day, at just before dawn, the rain would be so welcome, for it would usher in another few minutes, perhaps even another hour of sleep.  The rain would normally sooth our precious daughter, lulling her further into her slumber.  But this particular morning’s rain was not quite so welcome.  It guaranteed a sloppy start to my day; a day that had been set aside for the liquidating of the hardware once stationed at my former wine shop.

So many feelings were exposed through this two hour morning, personal feelings that no longer need be expressed.  But the one scene that continues to play over and over in my mind is that of my daughter.  Through tear filled eyes I now recapture that moment, a moment that breaks my heart, yet somehow gives me the strength to get myself to that next point. 

My daughter could not stand to be without me this morning.  Constantly, my precious, black-haired, green-eyed wonder ran from the house, her tiny pink umbrella in hand, calling “Daddy, Daddy!”  She stood by my side, clutching my hand, licking her pink popsickle at 8 in the morning.  The rain fell throughout this sale of ours this morning, and my daughter stood by my side.  The people in attendance bought my memories, adored my daughter and wished me all the luck for the future.

And as 10AM neared, and the morning sale came to a close, my daughter closed her little umbrella, for the sun was now coming out.  We walked, hand in hand, finished popsickle stick laying on the pavement, back to the house.  She may never know the strength she gave her Daddy this morning, but when she’s old enough, I will certainly tell her of these days.

And as I composed these thoughts, I remembered a letter from a man I’ve called a friend for many years.  I want to remember this letter, too.  And I’ll remember here:

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” 
Theodore Roosevelt, 1910