My Dad. Where to start. I hope this makes sense to the people who read it. I cried while writing most of it, so it was very hard to write. If I misspelled something, or used the wrong punctuation I am sorry. Please if you are a family member or a friend and want to leave a story, or a memory, please do so. We would love to hear them. Keli
He was the rock of our family. He was a very private person. But yet he never met a stranger. He was a wonderful person to know. To be loved by him was to be truly blessed. He was always there to lend a hand, or give advice.
He was a great shade tree mechanic. If he was working on your car, you had to be under the hood or under the car with him. Didn't matter if you were his daughter or son. That was the rules. I remember one time when I was 18 years old. He had bought a 1965 Cutlass Olds for his children to drive. Well, at the time, it was my car. I was having trouble with the car, keeping it running, etc. I would have it floored and only get up to 20 mph. I kept tell him "Dad, there is something wrong with my car." and he would reply "It is the driver." Well, one day, Mom had their car, and I had the other one, so that left mine for Dad to drive. When I got home from work that night, he said, "Keli, There is something wrong with your car." I just looked at him and said "No Shht?, I've been trying to tell you that something was wrong with it." We got out there under the hood, and found what the problem was, it was running off of no points, and 1 spark plug. He just shook his head, and said "It should never have even started."
Growing up, all my cousins called him Uncle Frosty. But he was not a cold person by any means. He loved to play jokes, and to tease. He especially loved to tease two of my cousins Keith and Berry. He always got their names backwards on purpose. They used to get so upset with him. Keith was killed in 1992 and I am sure when Dad got to heaven he looked at him and said, "Keith, What the hell happened to you?" That would probably be the only time he EVER got their names right.
When I was little, and he worked for Bassett Furniture as a wholesale salesman. Twice a year he would have to go to N. Carolina and be gone for 2 weeks. I always cried when he would leave. I was always afraid that something bad would happen, and he wouldn't come back. I felt that way when I went to Washington State, and Okinawa Japan. I felt that way when my parents left Okinawa from visiting us. I was afraid that him being a "heart patient" that he would have another heart attack, and I would never see him again. A lot of people think I am crazy when I say, even when I was little I always had a feeling Dad would not make it past sixty. I wish my "feeling" was wrong.
Dad has his first heart attack in 1987. Of course with having 3 children of his own, we always had friends hanging around the house. Dad of course "adopted" most of them. They would call him "Dad, and Mom "Mom". So off hand I can think of about 16-20 kids that called him Dad. When he had his 1st heart attack, he was in the hospital for 3 weeks, 1 in Shawnee, and 2 in St. Anthony's in OKC. While in the hospital, I don't think the nurses or Doctors ever figured out exactly how many "kids" Mom & Dad really had. At any given moment there maybe at least 10-12 in the waiting area wanting to know how Dad was doing. Several of the nurses asked Mom, "Just how many children do you and Mr. Best have?" . When the nurses were able to ask Dad he would smile and say "How many are out there today?" and the nurse would tell him, and he would say "Hummmmmm, some are missing". Then laugh. I don't know if Mom or Dad ever told that they only had three. I know he sure liked the attention, and was definitely loved by "all" of us kids.
Dad had a "spell" with his heart in January 1999. It was January 17th to be exact. When I got that call, I called my Aunt Linda who lives very close to me, to please take me to Oklahoma. Bless her heart, she dropped everything at work, and I threw some clothes in a bag, and we left for OKC. When we got there he said "You didn't need to come here, I am fine". He had the ability to make his heart rate drop, and lower his BP. The Dr. told us that he needed to have surgery on his heart, but that it wasn't strong enough to withstand it. So he needed to go home and walk to make it stronger. I don't think they were honest with us. I think they knew we were loosing him. I believe they sent him home to die. I also think that he knew too. Not from the Dr, but just himself. The weekend before he died, was Easter weekend. We had gone to Shawnee to spend it with my family at Mom and Dad's house. He had a ball watching the kids hunt the eggs, and "stealing" their candy from them. When it came time for my husband, me and our two kids to leave, as we were backing out of the driveway, I waved at Mom and Dad, and blew them kisses. Mom waved back and blew kisses, but Dad just blew kisses. I kept waving, but he would not wave back. Now I know why. It was because he didn't want to say goodbye.
He died the next Sunday April 11, 1999. He was in Pauls Valley with his brother Glenn, JJ, Glenn’s wife, his cousin Marvin, Mom, and some friends. Dad had bought a dirt bike that week, and wanted to ride it. Uncle Glenn owned some land in Pauls Valley, so they went down there to camp out and ride bikes. Dad and Uncle Glenn have always liked to ride motorcycles. Dad was riding his dirt bike in the pecan orchard, and Uncle Glenn, and Marvin were in Uncle Glenn's little jeep. They had stopped and visited a few min, and then decided they would head back up to the "house" for a sandwich. Dad had trouble starting the motorcycle with the start button, so he kick started it. When he did it must have been too much for his heart because it didn't go very far, and Dad fell off, and the motorcycle kept going for a few feet. I don't believe my Dad ever knew what hit him. I believe he was gone before he ever hit the ground. Loosing someone suddenly, is hardest on the people they leave behind. But I am so grateful that he went so quickly. He didn't have to suffer. I have had loved ones die quickly and some die slowly. For their sakes, I would rather loose someone quickly. 12 years of being a heart patient was a long time. He had limits on what he could do, and eat for 12 years. Now he is in heaven eating all the pizza, and cookies, peanut butter, and butter brickle ice cream that he wants. He can lift and eat anything with out having some one say "Does that weigh over 10 lbs?" "You know you shouldn't eat that".
The day my Dad died, I lost my hero. I don't handle death very well, and being Daddy's baby girl, I sure didn't handle it well at all. I was very close to Dad. For a long time, I felt like I was living a nightmare. My Aunt J.J. called to tell me he was gone, but Darin wasn't home, so she didn't want to tell me while I was at home by myself. My mom told me my dad was gone. My Husband walked in about that time, and we left Van Buren, AR. for Shawnee that night. We left my kids with my husband's parents. On the way to Shawnee, I truly thought to myself that when we got to Mom and Dad's house he would be there, and he would tell me what it is like to die and go to heaven. It didn't happen. If it wasn't for a lot of my family and friends, I really don't think I would be here now. I got so depressed after he died, that I didn't care if I lived or died. I wanted to die so I could go be with him. Thank you to those of you who helped, and supported me. You helped me to find a way to get on with my life. I love you all. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be watching my own children grow up. THANK YOU!
Daddy, I did this for your Father's day gift. I hope you like it, and can see it from Heaven. I think the hardest thing I have done is write this legacy for you. But I want people all over the world to know about "Dad". You touched so many lives while you were here, and you left us way too soon. Have fun in Heaven. We will all be together again someday.
Love, Baby Girl