He worked all day, and then came home and played pitch and catch in the backyard. I can still hear the pop of a baseball in my leather mitt or feel the cosmically round baseball in my hand. I would throw as hard as I could to impress him. I wanted his approval. He also coached my Little League Team.
In the fall and winter, even when it was snowing, he would come outside and we would play basketball out by the old white-washed garage. When I was playing basketball in school — ten years worth of teams — he would sit in the stands, watch the game, make notes, and then every night he would critique how I played. Never harshly. Always constructively. He understood the poetry of the game.
He was a good man, not just good to me, but to my friends. My dad was kind-hearted and generous. He was a good dad, but also a good son to his parents, Agnes and Gayle. He would sometimes work at their grocery store on the weekends to help them out. He had a good sense of humor too. He worked hard. He volunteered in the community and served on countless boards, and was elected to the City Council three times. And yes, he was a Republican. People knew him and respected him. I was proud to be his son.
He and my mother went through a terrible time after I was grown and out of the house. He eventually remarried and was happy. Very happy. He enjoyed going to church too. First when I was a small boy at First Christian Church of Salem, Indiana, and then at Southport Christian Church in Indianapolis. I have so many flaws as a minister, but he never saw any of them. He was proud of me. He was proud of my vocation. He always asked about my church and loved to read my sermons.
I grew up with a dad who told me that he loved me. Not every now and then, but every night before I went to sleep. My father blessed me again and again. Family vacations. Fishing trips. Camping trips. Out to dinner. Indiana basketball games. In the last years, I would call him almost every morning to say hi and check in on him. We would talk about Indiana University basketball. Or Major League baseball. He was a Cardinals fan. I’m a Cubs fan. Without fail he asked about my kids — Matthew and Drew and Katie. And when that was finished, we would talk about the weather.
My father didn’t know me the last two times I visited him in Indianapolis. That was hard. He had Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s a terrible disease. Plus, his wife, Elise, had died, and he was tired and lonely and lonely and tired. It’s not that he gave up. He was just ready to go. I tried to say hi to him in August and he didn’t understand that it was me. He didn’t know me.
My father passed away this morning.
His name was Richard Lee Colglazier.
I am Richard Scott Colglazier.
I am forever his son.