my dad Thomas W. Lee
at a Family Reunion.
He would have celebrated his 93rd birthday today. We always loved getting together for his birthday because first of all, we loved him, but it helped that the extended family could make time to visit Provo during the 4th of July. My dad, in his quirky humor, always referred to his birthday as July the 2th (tooth). So, that's what we call it as we continue the celebration with a Family Reunion in his honor.
Things I remember most about my dad:
Most of all he loved our mother. We knew it because he said it often, but he also showed his love in how he treated her. One time he caught my young son teasing his little sister. Dad took Michael aside and gave him a tongue lashing about how he should always treat women with respect. Michael straightened up after that.
My dad loved the mountains. In his early years, his parents spent summers at the BYU Aspen Grove "campus." Grandpa Wilford Lee taught English during the summer school sessions. Dad told us that traveling up the un-improved winding roads to Aspen Grove in those days was treacherous. Once there, they were not in any hurry to travel down them again until fall. Dad and his brothers roamed all over the hills and trails. He always felt that Timpanogos was his mountain.
Daddy Tom was a terrific storyteller. Some of his stories have become legend. One summer, he took the oldest grandkids and their dads up the canyon for a Camp Out. Each evening he told a story that he continued to make up for days. Finally, he wrote it down for the family to enjoy for future generations. Problem is that none of us can find our copies of Johnny in the Moon. (Somebody PLEASE find it!)
He loved his family. My dad often said that he hated children. But none of us ever believed him. He always kept a stash of candy in his drawer by the bed and always allowed us to raid it while we climbed up on the bed to hear a story or watch sports with him. Grandpa was a big softy.
Dad was a wonderful listener. We knew we could always go to Dad with our problems. We always felt that he gave good advice. But really, he just listened and asked the right questions so that we could figure out the solutions to our own problems ourselves. No wonder he was such a revered Bishop.
For his 80th Birthday, I wrote a Sacred Patriotic Anthem inspired by my Dad. At our July the 2th Family Reunion, the entire extended family sang it. We have performed it several times since as a family. So wonderful to have a big musical family! Enjoy "My Promised Land."