Tag Archives: quote

My Pop-Tart Dad

“The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”

—John Wooden

Today’s story is from Sharon.

Dad was distant. We never had a close relationship. Did he even like me? Sometimes I wondered.


Sharon’s Dad during a recent family Christmas.

My father was taciturn, reserved, an academic. Neat freak. Perfectionist. Workaholic.

We were like sugar and salt. I was full of words — and problems, too. Dad said little, buried in work and his books. That’s why my sister and I first lived with Mom in Illinois. But as I grew older, it didn’t work out. Mom and I had issues.

I was bipolar, had OCD and an eating disorder. It became too much for her to handle. So at 18, I packed up and headed for Minnesota to live with Dad. At least he would just leave me alone.

He was exactly as I remembered. Introverted. Distant. But he had a razor sharp intellect, and was very observant. READ MORE 

It’s What Matters, Isn’t It?

“You may delay, but time will not.”

—Benjamin Franklin

Today’s story is about Peter O’ Malley.

Time with those we love. It’s what matters, isn’t it?

time with those we love

Peter O’Malley with his wife, Mary in 1976 at his daughter’s wedding.

Peter O’Malley was running his delivery route for Schaefer Beer on the evening of July 6, 1976. Suddenly, a heart attack dragged him down to the cold, linoleum floor at the Bohack grocery store in Port Jefferson Station, New York.

As he started to lose consciousness, he had only one thought, his daughter’s wedding a few months away. Who would walk her down the aisle?

Fortunately, a dentist and nurse were in the vicinity, administered CPR, and O’Malley went on to make a full recovery. A few months later, his daughter did get married, “and there he was, walking me down the aisle,” she fondly remembers.

O’Malley was 57 at the time of his heart attack. He lived another 37 years to age 93. He was there for the births of 11 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

Because of his near visit with death, Peter O’Malley recognized the point of it all.

time with those we love

Peter holding one of his great grandsons.

Time with those we love. It’s what matters, isn’t it?

Nice Guys Never Finish

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

—Samuel Johnson

Today’s story is contributed by Bill Bayles.

This is our nicest story. Why?
It’s about one simple thing — a really nice dad.

Nice Guys Never Finish, They Keep Giving

Bill’s graduation with Mom and Dad, 1984

He was born on Christmas day, perhaps a clue.

People always tell me, “Bill, your dad is the nicest guy in the world!” They’re right. He is.

But Dad had it rough growing up. It was not the “happy home” you might assume. My dad had no dad. His mom disapproved of the drinking and other bad habits. She did her best to keep them apart.

Academically? Last in grades, first in love. My dad finished at the bottom of his high school class, but was one of the most popular kids in school.

His first job? A gravedigger. Yep, that’s right. He dug six-foot holes for those on their final passage. Most would cringe, but Dad did it with a whistle and pep in his step. He was cheerful and nice, a ray of light in an often-sad place.

One day, sensing that his life needed new direction, he quit his gravedigging job. That same week, a friend suggested he should attend college. After my dad explained his less than exemplary high school performance, this friend called his friend, who happened to work at the local college. My dad started classes the very next day!

People have always looked for ways to help my dad. They see into his heart, they know he cares.

Dad graduated and became a preacher, then a teacher.

While having lunch one day at his favorite diner, he sensed distress in the man sitting next to him. He offered his ear. It was a divorce. They spoke for two hours. The man asked if my father wanted to start a commercial cleaning business. Dad’s next chapter had just opened . . . He knew nothing about that business, but he knew everything about people. It was a resounding success.

With my father, it’s never been about “networking.” It’s natural. It’s organic. It’s “friendworking.” He simply wants to help you, to be your friend.

As a teenager, I saw this expecting nothing back, always-nice mentality as a weakness. There was no underlying “what’s in it for me” motive. I felt like he wasn’t mentally tough like many of my friend’s dads.

In time, I came to realize that I was both right and wrong. I was right — Dad had no hidden agenda. He didn’t care about being tough. But I was dead wrong — that is precisely what made Dad the strongest man I have ever known.

At 79, my dad now counsels others emotionally in need. Many of his patients are at the local prison.

They say that nice guys finish last.

In the case of my father, nice guys never finish . . . they just keep giving until their time is up.

nice guys

Grandpa, Bob, and Grandma, Shelly Bayles, with their grandchildren

A rare person in this world, and a blessing to all. Love you dad.

Bill and his wife, Karen, have three children, Maria, Chelsea and Sebastian. Together, they have founded three successful firms, all related to benefiting not-for-profit and healthcare firms. Bill has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including college foundations and mission-based organizations like Youth for Christ. He enjoys having the opportunity to work and grow closer with his wife and business partner, Karen, and spending time with their three children — swimming, boating, and fishing together.

Swallow the Frog. Do it early.

Life lessons from Chubby (my dad) and other smart folks I’ve met on the road.

swallow the frog

We all have frogs; difficult or unpleasant things we must do.

We tend to put them off. The problem? They rarely go away. In fact, they often grow into green monsters — harder to do, tougher to face.

Facing a frog today?
Take Chubby’s advice.

Swallow the frog. Do it early.

swallow the frog

“If you know you have to swallow a frog,
swallow it first thing in the morning.
If there are two frogs, swallow the big one first.”
—Mark Twain

*Chubby Rule courtesy of my good friend and savvy dad, Bruce.
**Photo of boy with frog in mouth courtesy of strangecosmos.com

The Successful Bethel

“Never fret for an only son, the idea of failure will never occur to him.”

—George Bernard Shaw

Today’s story is contributed by Dr. Klee Bethel.

When Savvy Dad asked me to share my dad’s best lesson, only one person came to mind — my son.

life success

Klee with David, his son, and grandsons Caden (age 13) and Brenner (age 8)

Growing up, I was taught that success was defined in terms of wealth and influence. A “successful” man had a tailor-fit wardrobe, a lavish home, and enough cars to fill an oversized garage.

As an ambitious young man, I saw my path to success in the medical field. In time I became a prominent doctor. A success, I thought. I tried to pass on my idea of success to my son, David. It was my duty, right?

But David didn’t see it my way. We were close in his adolescent years — best friends, I would say. But in his teenage years, we started to grow apart. I didn’t approve of his GPA in school. He didn’t approve of my second wife.

By the time David turned 20, and had his first son, we were estranged. I didn’t approve. His choices were all wrong. No college? Working as a waiter? His new wife merely a receptionist?

As a physician, I had made a good living, but eventually went bankrupt when the economy fell. I also divorced my second wife. As it turned out, I was not the portrait of success I had envisioned as a youth.

But my son… Today, at 33 years old, he is the most talented food server in the restaurant. He is deeply in love with his lovely wife, Sedina. They have two wonderful boys, Caden and Brenner, now 13 and 8. My son and his family live a remarkably happy life.

My son’s prescription for success is simple — being an amazing husband and a fantastic father to my grandsons.


David, Sedina, Caden, and Brenner.

After my second divorce, I finally “woke up.” I realized that my formula for success was shortsighted and wrong. My son was more successful than I had ever been. So, I decided to adopt his vision for success as my own!

Today, I am dedicated to being the best dad and granddad I can possibly be. I visit my son at his restaurant frequently. I attend my grandson’s football games. My daughter-in-law works with me in my medical practice.

As parents, David and Sedina have structured their lives to revolve around their kids. As a granddad, I now structure my life to revolve around them.

I always felt it was my paternal duty to show my son the path to happiness in life. Now, I look to him to show me the way. I consider it an honor to be part of his life.

Of the two of us, my son is The Successful Bethel.


Klee with grandson, Caden

Klee Bethel practices Interventional Pain Management in Mesa, AZ at the Beth-El Clinic. He is a board certified MD anesthesiologist who has focused on pain intervention for the past 12 years. Dr. Bethel has been an Emeritus member of the Board of Trustees at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine since retiring as its Chairman in 2009. He practices the art of medicine in both a traditional and non-traditional fashion. Dr. Bethel is also an associate medical school professor teaching a class in plant-based nutrition.

Best at Last

“Our best successes often come after our greatest disappointments.”

—Henry Ward Beecher

Today’s story is contributed by William Homeier.

May 31, 1954
Lap 74 — The Indianapolis 500

wrong way

Homeier “swimming upstream” at Indy 500, 1954.

Dad pulled into the pit. The clutch had been giving him trouble all day.

Before his crew could finish, the clutch engaged.

The car spun around, slammed into the sidewall, and careened down the track in the opposite direction!

Not a good day for my dad.

My father still holds an Indy world record — the most laps ever completed by a last place finisher. Not the notoriety he was hoping for.

Did that set him back? Not MY dad! He was Texas-born and raised. When you got bucked off the bull, you got up, dusted off, and did it again.

midget car race

Midget car racing

After breaking his arm midget car racing in ’56, Dad bounced back to qualify for Indy again in ’58. However, like in ’54, it didn’t work out. Mechanical issues kept him out of the race.

Finally, in 1960, Dad’s luck changed — he finished 13th in the Indianapolis 500! While he didn’t win the race, it was more of a victory for Dad than it was for the guy who finished first.

Years later, in 1990, my father was interviewed in a special “Where Are They Now” article for The Star newspaper.

The headline?
“Homeier was best at being last.”

He laughed it off. That was my dad. Resilient. Loaded with get up and try again grit.

The lesson I learned from my Best at Last dad?

Winners don’t always cross the line first… but they never stop running the race.

Bill Homeier — my dad — A winner in every sense of the word.

Best at last

Truckin’ with Dad

“It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

—E.L. Doctorow

Today’s story is contributed by Marchell Mascheck

just being with dad

Sometimes, just being with dad is the lesson.

My father — a truck driver back in Kansas City, where we grew up.

My first driving lesson — a dark, deserted highway. It was very late at night.

Back then, cars didn’t have seat belts. They were giant, clunky vehicles with massive, oversized steering wheels. This was not exactly the most conducive configuration for a driving lesson, especially since I was three years old!

Yes, that’s right. A toddler. Daddy let me stand on the bench seat next to him. I was just tall enough to wrap my tiny arm around his large neck.

It was a simple and quiet experience, yet it remains one of the most profoundly memorable moments of my life. I can still remember standing on the leather seat, my feet faintly bouncing on the hard, uncushioned springs beneath.

Resting my head on Daddy’s shoulder, we just cruised down that black, empty highway for miles.

It was the best driving lesson of all time. Just being with dad. Sometimes it’s the only lesson in life — just being with those you love.

just being with dad

Family Portrait with Marchell (front right)

Marchell was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She attended University of Houston and St. Thomas University. She has been married to her husband, Carl, for 28 years and counting. She is a recruiter for The Alexander Group, and spends her leisure time traveling and honing her photography skills. She is also an avid motorcycle racing fan.