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Stand Proud

hands_dadIt was never my intention to make this a post on The Brand Chef.  A sudden turn of events made me reconsider.

A friend – no, really, a guy I’ve met a handful of times – died yesterday. While driving to see his mother in a rural area of Iowa, he had a heart attack and crashed his car.

I always admired Ray. From what I could tell, he was a good man. He was infectious and passionate. He spent true, quality-time with his family. He gave back to his community – so much so that they elected him Mayor. He raised what I consider to be great children (My daughter goes to school with his daughter, and his son is a leader in professional football).  But, with all his goodness, all that generosity yet to give, God decided it was Ray’s time to leave.

I’m shocked and saddened.

So, this is how I choose to deal with the passing of someone I’d wished was a closer friend. This is how I choose to deal with my own mortality.


I wrote this Thursday night, before Ray’s death, but with the intention to give to my father. I never did.

Stand Proud

Stand proud my father. Stand proud.
Bring the past with you – leave it at the door,
For, with me, the past has gone.

Step up and walk with me, father. Walk.
Ease your mind. Soften your brow.
Breathe easy and talk.

Keep your eyes high, father. Look ahead.
Raise your thoughts, your gaze your spirit,
For your work is done and done.

Take my hand, father – hold tight.
Let me guide you,
As father and son like when we were young.

Stand proud my father. Stand proud.
Bring our past with you – for all to see.
For from here, we start again. We start anew.

I’m going to read it to him tonight.

There are lessons here, but I’ll let you figure them out this time.

Keep Cooking! (to strengthen connections to those that matter)
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef

Ray, you’ll be missed.

2/2/10 – I didn’t call my dad and read the poem to him.  I chickened out.  But this morning, I emailed him this link.  At least the door has been opened.

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