Friday, August 15, 2014
Opal was my mother, making her Nora's great grandmother. The butterfly quilt was made as a gift for Opal on her 17th birthday in 1931, a common pattern choice in those depression years that so needed the butterfly's symbolism of hope. The women who chose these colors and patterns and stitched every tiny, even stitch were Opal's mother and grandmother, making them Nora Opal's great-great grandmother and great-great-great grandmother. I stood as I watched Nora admire their handwork, thinking of their stories and hers. They could not have known that almost a century later, a beautiful little girl would so love what they made. But I am confident they know now. Opal herself did not know when she passed the quilt on to me how I would keep it and love it and give it again. But I know she joins Clyde and Earnestine in blessing Nora and returning the admiration. Hope is a wonderful gift to pass on.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
During these weeks leading up to and following the actual retirement date, I have heard one person after another thank him and talk about the ways he mentored, encouraged, and impacted lives. But the following, written by our oldest son, Sean Parker, so beautifully paints the picture that I wanted to share it here.
Today is my dad, Joe Parker's first day of retirement after a brilliant and well respected 52 year career in exploration geophysics. His work has taken him (and us, as his family) around the world.
I'm so proud of my dad. His career has been executed with the finest appreciation for the value of driving love and care and attention into the most basic tasks. He is an artist and an authority in his field and should rightfully be proud of his accomplishments, but the humble and accomodating spirit he extends to his peers at every level is something I sincerely hope I can emulate. I'm so grateful to him for the way he's always shared his love for his work with me and the positive impact that's had on my experience of living my own work. When I feel proud of doing something well, it doesn't take long to realize that it's his influence on me that made it so, and he's usually the first person I want to share it with.
I've tried to imagine what it must feel like to reach the summit of a life's work. I can imagine there could be a sense of work being "over" and that a chapter is ending. For my dad, though, there can't be an "over" or an ending...there's only "complete", and the fact that the inspiration and love he poured into his work has grown into me, and my brothers, and the hundreds of others whose lives and work he's touched. The hands that do my work were formed by his, and I'll proudly bear his legacy forward.
Congratulations, Dad. Job very, very well done, Sir