Eleven years ago today my Mom, my brother Ethan, and I gathered around my Mom’s bed to say a prayer before we left for school. When the prayer was over the phone rang, and my Mom answered to hear that my father had rejected the machine that was helping him breath and had suffered a heart attack but they were able to revive him and asked that she come to the hospital. My mom hung up the phone and gave us the news, and asked if we wanted to go with her or go ahead and go to school. I had made up my mind a few weeks earlier that I wanted to have only memories of my father awake and alive. So I chose to go to school and Ethan chose to go with my mom.
My last memory of my father was right after I got back from a trip to Utah to visit my brother. While I was gone, my dad began having more trouble breathing on his own and had to return to the hospital. When I arrived he was awake and in good spirits, I stood beside his bed staring at him laying in an uncomfortable bed in a crowded room with nothing but a small white curtain to provide him with some privacy. His face was covered with a plastic oxygen mask, to which I said something to the sound of, “I’m surprised they were able to get one of those masks custom made to fit over your BIG nose.”
And we all stood around and laughed. Shortly after that we had to leave, and my father told me not to worry about him, and that he would be fine. He said he was feeling better, and doing better. He gave me a hug to which if I concentrate I can still feel to this day, and told me that he loved me and took hold of my hand and stared me in my eye and told me how happy he was to see me, and how happy he was that I came to visit him. The very next day he took a turn for the worse and had to be forced into a coma and placed on a machine which breathed for him.
By the time I got to my second class of the day, which was Art class, I walked through the door and placed my back pack down on my desk and pulled my chair out and was about to sit down when a lady came over to me and said I needed to go with her. We walked back through the door to the bright sunlight and when the door shut on the other side stood John Durnford (who was my bishop at the time) who started out by saying, “Shane, I’m sorry but…” and I knew exactly what had happened. Before I left for school my mother told me she would call and let me know if anything else happened….
In memory of that day here are 11 Random Facts & Memories About My Father, Michael Guymon
1.) My father tried hard to stop drinking caffeine, but he had difficulty giving up Cherry Coke, which he drank in the form of a fountain drink in a black Texaco cup on a daily basis. He began referring to Cherry Coke as "Cherry Water", because throughout his campaign to stop drinking caffeine he also tried his hardest to rally the rest of us to join him. So when he saw me drinking a coke, or worse yet a Mountain Dew, he would give me a hard time. I would then ask, “What are you drinking?” and he would say, “Oh this… This is just cherry water.”
2.) My dad was obsessed about us leaving lights on in the house. He was constantly circling the house turning off lights we left on and he would say, “If I had a nickel for every light you guys left on…”
3.) Almost every night you could find my dad roaming the house in his underwear and a flash light making his way to the air conditioner to make sure it was set to 80 degrees. Anytime it wasn’t we would ALL have to hear about it the following morning. If you happened to be sleeping on the couch while he was on his way he would lean over and shine the flash light directly in your face asking, “Who is that… Oh it’s you Shane!”
4.) My dad was VERY cold natured one of the reasons he chose to hang his hat in south Texas. So year round he would wear a jacket, cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat.
5.) He refused to turn on the air conditioner in the car because he firmly believed that the air conditioner didn’t function until the car was moving at a speed of 60 mph or higher. Boy was that fun when the entire family (8) piled into our Ford van for a trip in the middle of the Texas summer.
6.) Similar to Batman my dad wore what we all referred to as his “Utility Belt” which held just about anything and everything a normal person would NEVER need. Some of the items were a pocket knife, glasses, pens, keys, and who knows what else.
7.) Despite Michael Jordan’s greatness next to his brother Jimmy, Jerry West remained the greatest player to ever throw a leather ball through a round metal rim.
8.) My first job was my dad paying me 2 cents a minute to tickle his head. It is looking like I might have to do that to finally get someone other than my Mom to tickle my back or head (thanks to Heather deceiving).
9.) Often times I had to make my dad a bowl of ice cream. The problem was my dad was very picky about his ice cream, and sometimes it would take me 3 or four times to get it right. He loved Bluebell chocolate ice cream covered in a lake of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. However the ice cream had to be somewhat melted as well. So I would scoop the ice cream out, then pour chocolate syrup over it and carry it over to him to find out if I had enough chocolate syrup or not, and to see if the ice cream was melted enough.
You also HAD to scoop the ice cream with an actual ice cream scooper. So he would investigate the ice cream to make sure you used an ice cream scooper or not. This never made sense to me, because he also prefered it to be a bit melted before giving it to him. So I constantly would give him a hard time say, “How would you even know or be able to tell.” Then he always responded by saying, “It taste different.”
Some times I wasn’t able to find the ONE ice cream scooper we had in the house, so I would have to use a spoon. On those occasions I used to wait until he was half way done eating then ask him how good it was. When he would tell me it was perfect I’d say, “Well that’s good because I used a spoon instead of an ice cream scooper.” Then he’d say, “I knew it didn’t taste right, I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”
10.) He had a recurring nightmare that he once shared with us, that he would be playing basketball and standing at the free throw line in the middle of a game with tons of fans in the crowd. He would throw the ball as hard as he could towards the basket and it would barely reach the dotted line in the middle of the paint.
11.) My dad was a very quiet guy. He mostly kept to himself. For example, when we would eat out as a family as soon as he was finished with his food he would head straight to the car to wait for us. Even at home, whenever we ate together as a family as soon as he was finished with his food, he would head straight back to his room, regardless if it was just the family, or if company was over eating with us. If we went to a wedding reception or other get together you could always find my dad sitting all alone in the corner out of site.