From Tom Helbert
It’s March 3rd and what a day this is, a day that changed my life forever -- changed my focus, my priority, my thinking. A day I used to lie in bed as a teenager and dream about, as silly as that sounds for a male. I went from being as sick as a dog the day before, to being on top of the world by the end of the day; it was Mar 3! What sort of milestone day in my life could this be? It was the day my son was born! That was 40 years ago today! Seems like yesterday, and at the same time, a million years ago! Time is passing too fast and he is growing up faster too. One of these days he will pass me as well, just as I passed my Dad. Happy Birthday, BRIAN THOMAS HELBERT! His name came easy, had it picked out since high school, and going to sleep listening to the Beach Boys (Brian Wilson). I never even thought of a girl’s name, because I knew he was going to be a boy! The next 19 years of his life, he was what made my day and made the world spin, and my life was focused on making him the best at whatever he wanted to try. That smile and laugh that he had was the payment for all the long hours and hard work I put into his life. He did become the best at wrapping Mamaw and Paps around his finger, feeding the squirrels in Paps’s shop as Paps cracked the pecans for him, playing ball with the dogs Barney and Mac, and raking the leaves in a pile just to slide through them for Paps to rake later. He and I had a world of fun as well, and he sort of had me wrapped around his finger too, but I tried not to let him think that. In my unbiased opinion he became the best traveling and camping buddy who could eat a bigger steak than me. He was the best soccer goalie, the only goalie to score a goal from a kick outside his own goal! He was the best French Horn and Christmas Bells player, especially when he was wearing a long tail tux. He was the best partner in an Astros season ticket seat, and he loved them “Dome Dogs.” Could not find a more fun tuber, and Hamburger griller on the Guadalupe River outings. He was a true athlete, part of a state champion team in elementary school. I loved watching and coaching him. Wow -- what a rush I got seeing him play whatever it was -- basketball, football and most of all Baseball! Watching him made me smile and made me so proud. I really enjoyed our trips and experiences with the FFA animals; watching Brian and Wes work with the chickens and the pigs was a joy for me. One of the best memories was watching and listening to you, Brian, exercise your pig to Marine Cadence music; you always made it fun for me; thanks. graduation dresses
He played to be the best and do his best; he was the best in MY book! Being the best just moved him into the next phase of his life -- a Marine! My Marine -- and I just thought I was proud, but proud took on a bigger meaning. To see him on the parade deck at graduation in those Marine Dress Blues – wow, my chest and especially his Paps’s (a WWII POW) could not have gotten bigger with pride! Then in Police action after the Marines, all outfitted in that SWAT uniform, going on police rides with him and watching him protect and serve. Is this my boy that was kicking through the leaves just yesterday? Then I headed to the baseball park and this time to watch him coach his 2 boys, catchers both of them. (Of course; I see him in both of them.) I know now how my Dad felt when he came to watch Brian as I coached him; it is a memory that puts a lump in my throat. Now I listen as he talks about his business and how he is providing for his family; again he is trying to be the best and do his best, just as he has done his whole life. Wow – it does not seem like 40 years, and they have for sure gone too fast for me, maybe not for you, Brian. But you will look back one of these days and think the same about your kids. Where did that little boy go? Oh, he grew up. Sure glad I had the chance to enjoy all of those fun memories you provided in the past 40 years, and I look forward to ones in the future. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRIAN and Love ya, SON!
From Tom Helbert