Father to Son, a Lesson in Leaves
November 22, 2011
Dear Judah Mordecai,
Fall is my favorite season. The trees sway from side to side. The leaves are bright red, orange, and brown. The red stands out to me because the color red is Power. Its shade is the one element that binds mankind. That element is blood.
You are my blood, Judah Mordecai.
As the Fall moves to Winter I want you to focus on what makes you a Cooper-Payne. You are a Dual Force that represents the name Cooper and Payne. You are the only one who’s charged with the responsibility to carry on what your mother and I created, Cooper-Payne. You are, Judah…you are the ONE and ONLY!
Only…elevates you to a singular position. You are at the top. It is your mission to represent. Floss…you have to rep da name.
Do you remember one of the first names I encouraged you to memorize? Say? Speak? I would say, “Your dad’s name is BRIAN E. PAYNE!” And, you would repeat my name back to me. I did not do this in an effort to be arrogant. No…Judah. I did it because I wanted you to understand that your name is all you have.
Do you remember when we were walking through the cemetery? I challenged you to find two headstones that read, Cooper and Payne. One with Cooper and one with Payne. Even with my assistance we could not find either. Why? We assumed no one was buried at that location of remembrance with those last names.
I had an intense memory of you last week. I was working outside of my specialized background. Not within my educational and professional training. I was raking leaves so I could purchase a few meals for the week. Here is a picture of the heap I tirelessly piled-up:
Pretty big, right?
I thought to myself, ‘Judah already knows the value of work he witnessed his mother work a full time job, go to law school full time, and care for a teenager and a preteen.’
So, with this letter to you it is only a reminder of how much I love you, how much I want you to bring the two C’s up to B’s…then A’s. You owe your name, Judah Mordecai that, your mother, and me that. I, too, worked full time and completed a Master’s degree at the same time. And, when I was unavailable to you, Judah, please know that your dad has always wanted the best for you even when I could not provide the best.
I want you to feel what I felt at the end of my time working with those leaves…well, not the physical part…I am still sore from that day of yard WORK. I want you to feel that familiar feeling of accomplishment. You have experienced it before with a football season ending…the most recent football season proved that you are a STAR! Your improvement is outstanding! You also experienced success when you were one of two fourth graders out of at least 75 other fourth graders remaining in a mathematics competition, and the taste of accomplishment got sweeter when you won an award for a science fair project.
The photograph below was my sense of accomplishment. It is a photo of bags filled with leaves…twenty-one bags. I finished the job,
You do the same Judah Mordecai…finish the job like you did when you wanted to quit playing football that first season of play. I said to you, “You started this so finish it.” You looked at me with those intense eyes and said, “Okay…let’s go to practice. I will continue to play.” You cannot imagine how proud of you I was on that cold rainy evening. So proud!
Judah Mordecai, always remember that when no one is looking your shadow is lurking behind you ready to help you make the RIGHT decision or your reflection is glowing and asking you to RETHINK your decision.
While you are thinking…think about another name I encouraged you to repeat after me, Muhammad Ali. There he is…in the picture below with you and your reflection. He won, Judah Mordecai…You CONTINUE to do the same! You are a winner!
Love your Dad,