• Darrell Kendall

25 Years Ago Today-A Tribute to My Dad

Inspiration is found in a variety of places. In the locker room it's the coach's pregame speech, for those that are religious, Sunday mornings bring a message designed to inspire them through their week, and for students, a favorite teacher offers words of hope in the face of a challenging topic. For some though, the inspiration is silent and can't be seen.

Twenty-five years ago today, as a nine year old, I stood by my father's side as he took his final breathe, losing his four-year battle with cancer. I didn't stop standing by his side until the backhoe moved the last load of dirt in the back section of Restland Cemetery- a process I needed to experience. Maybe I was holding out hope that it was all a joke, I don't know- I can't remember. I just know I wanted nothing more than to be there until the end.

Here we are 25 years later, and I am doing something that undoubtedly would cause my father to smile, make a sarcastic--but very dry--comment about my processes, and swear at a stubborn chainsaw that won't hold tension on the chain. Most importantly though, he would make his trademark move. He'd pat me on the back--no hugs, just a pat on the back--and say "I'm proud of you, Son." He would surely follow that with, "how in the hell did you break a brand new saw?", and it'd probably be deserved.

Daddy was a strong, quick-witted man, that didn't take shit from anyone. He took his anger out on grease guns and dumpsters, and as a business man his philosophy was "the customer is always wrong." I don't imagine him giving a rah-rah speech to his employees, or even to Kim and I. Instead, I remember a man that always worked hard, pushed himself to the edge, and fought for everything that he had. That is my inspiration. I hope that someday, 50 years from now, someone says those same things about me.

I miss my Dad. I wish he could see what I am doing. But anyone that knew him and knows me can see that he has left and indelible mark on my life. He is, has been, and always will be an inspiration.


17848 Munn Rd. 

Chagrin Falls, OH 44023