The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

happy wife happy Life

February6

 here is some perspective. you’ve read these before. but, do it again:

so… I saw this on, humansofnewyork:

of course it reminds of Dad… and, Mom.

sad man on humans of new yorkWanted to share with you guys a letter I got today, because I think it’s a testament to the community of people who follow this blog. I’ve also attached the photo/caption referenced in the letter. I get nervous as the blog grows that the culture will fall apart, but with 2.7 million and counting— the HONY comment section remains a sort of rare internet jewel where everyone, for the most part, is really nice. And when there is a mean comment, it sticks out as an anomaly, instead of the other way around. So thanks for that.

Hi Brandon,

I’m Ted, we met getting off the Six at Grand Central. When I got home Sunday evening, I had an e-mail from friends in Chicago. One of their daughters reads your blog (is that what it is called?), and recognized me even though she has never seen me with a beard. I am astounded! I’ve read about 1000 of the comments, words cannot express how touched I am by what I have read. Its actually more than touched, it has been very emotional to read the wonderful things people have said. A couple people appear confused about what happened, for the record she had acute myelogenous leukemia, we were diagnosed July 2008, we lost our battle February 20 2013, not quite a year ago. Thanks for doing this, it has really touched my life. The most wonderful people in the world read your material and comment on it.

———————————-

“At first we kept saying: ‘We’re going to beat it. We’re going to beat it.’ Then after awhile we began to realize that we might not beat it. Then toward the end, it became clear that we definitely weren’t going to beat it. That’s when she started telling me that she wanted me to move on and find happiness with somebody else. But I’m not quite there yet. Not long ago a noise woke me up in the middle of the night, and I rolled over to ask if she needed anything.”

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

milestones and memories

December23

so…

the only being I’m probably really important to is my dog, Rowdy.

reference:

Rowdy can run.

Rowdy is alive and well.

and, with my vital role in the world always vitally suspect, my wife Joanne constantly rolling her eyes at me is telling.

but, that said, the point of this post, today, is to correlate two stories (and, a personal mission):

last night, against the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions receiver, Calvin Johnson, aka “Megatron”, broke the legendary Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record.

(sorry about the obnoxious advertisement)

he’s said some great things leading up to that. and, it’s likely the stage is set for many more a terrific bon mot, but the following quote caught me straight between the eyes, and to heart…

“It’s an accomplishment that took a lot of work,” Johnson said after the game. “You’re still in the moment – in the play that just happened, so I was still focused. I don’t think I even said anything when I gave my dad the ball. I just gave him a hug. But when I think back on it, it’s a special moment.”

as soon as I read that, my mind instantly went to the day of my college graduation from Radford University.

I probably did not belong in college at the on-set. but, my Mom and Dad leveraged an uncommon force-of-will to get me there. long story short, I’ve worked every day to have earned that. but, I can’t remember saying thanks to my Dad.

to wit…

“hey Dad. I sure to love you. and, I miss you. Haley Anne and Emma Jo have been out-right cheated by never having you in their lives, physically. but, almost every day they get a ‘Grandad story’. yeah… sometimes they roll their eyes. but, to be certain, another day they will realize the value.

two days, moments actually, often pop into my head, and typically at the seemingly most random times…

the last moment I saw you alive. we had just spent a couple of hours at your hotel while you were visiting Los Angeles on business. you had told me _____ was no good for me and to find the right girl (Dad never met Joanne, but he would adore her). I was listening. and, as I swaggered down the hall, I looked back and you were standing near the door to your room, sort of leaning against the wall with your hands shoved casually in your pockets gazing rather enigmatically at me. it was a tough read. but, I saw love, pride, sadness… a lot of stuff.

I took that moment for granted, just like I always took the too few years, months, weeks, days, hours and seconds I had with you.

then there was graduation day at Radford. Mom could not make it because she was dying of cancer at home. oddly, the import of that just struck me harder than ever before as I tap these words into existence. I know you were suffering. but, you were at Radford for me, and for the moment. a lot had gone-on the days leading up to that. I had sold a business and was sitting on some serious cash. Greg had drunk too much at a fraternity party and almost killed me, Eddie an himself driving back to my apartment. I had found Heather Hillier an hour before the ceremony, and then failed to look her in the eye and admit I had blown it by not ending-up with her instead of Dede (see below).

but, after the whooping-and-hollering and throwing of caps into the air, I found you standing off to the side by the fountain (Radford collective: you blew it by what you’ve relegated the fountain to). you had your coat looped through your arm with it being such a balmy Spring. and, of course, you had both that distant smile on your face – and, such a Gatsby air about yourself. were you a Last Gentleman a la, Walker Percy, after all?”

I do recall saying, “well… we did it”. however, I can’t recall much else. and, it was a bummer that you were distracted about Mom, and what lay ahead with Greg, the police, and all of that…

so…

Thank You.

despite my efforts to immortalize what I understood (or, not) about you on this blog over the years, and in stories to friends-and-family, I’ll probably never fully appreciate what that day meant to you, and on my behalf.

you grew up damn-dirt-poor (your words). but, your success is beyond measure. not just as a military officer. but, as a man and Dad. I know you had demons. and, they scarred us all. but, none of that could hide your efforts and the unflinching love and effort you put into your sons. Mom fought like hell to get me attention from college coaches despite my grades. but, you fought the odds and made it possible for me to be there. you never really talked about your own personal commitment to education, your advanced degrees (all long-after you were married and with kids), all that. what you cared about was Greg and me; our education. it was meaningful to you. so, graduation day was all the more special.

after you were gone, and I was able to get to Omaha, and while I was sorting through your affects, my mind a bit numb and body wracked with grief, I came upon a small box with my name neatly (nobody else ever had clean hand-writing like yours) stenciled across the top, and along one side (probably just for good measure). in that box were some momentos that you had carefully accumulated and I was unaware of… one of my running medals (why that one? …wait… I know why), a fishing hook, and a Political Science position paper I had written for Dr. Nick Pappas in my (ironically) Sophomore year with the words, “well done…” scrawled in a corner.

in my minds-eye, I see myself, with a re-wind like an old tape-to-tape reel, approaching you, giving you another hug, then stepping-back with an effort to be the man you saw, taking your hand firmly in my own (you taught me the importance of a firm hand-shake with eye-to-eye contact), and calmly state, “thank you Dad. I fully appreciate that everything you did since the day I was born was for, us. and, while you have given me an uncommon gift that will be measured more-and-more by the days yet ahead, this moment is for you. I want you to carry the memory of this day along with the notion that I could never conceive of the result without you being part of it every step leading up to, through, and beyond it”.

thanks for the ball, Dad.

today, I’m listening to Autumn Leaves, by Ed Sheeran. Haley Anne found this artist and shared him with me.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

some lights always burn bright in San Francisco

December20

this post isn’t meant to be news. just some thinking about my Dad whom was neither a football player, nor citizen of San Francisco. just my Dad.

last night the San Francisco 49ers beat the Pittsburg Steelers in unique fashion. a lot of the details are being reported elsewhere, and are in fact, unimportant to me.

but, the 49ers were, improbably, very important to my Dad. he grew up, literally, dirt poor in South Dakota and Nebraska. his path from poverty to that of an elite military officer through the Army Air Corps that became the the Air Force, somehow equated with his views of San Francisco as the epitome of advantage, opportunity and example. I don’t know a lot of the reasoning around that, but I do know that Dad was happy whenever I saw him, there.

and, when Dad was happy his laugh was genuine, and his smile could light up an entire room, and one evening in particular, an entire stadium.

last night the power kept going out at Candlestick Park, and that was bigger news than the 49ers victory even though it’s certainly been too long since they found the play-off’s.

“The Stick” powered-up in 1960, the year I was born, and the 49ers played their first game in that place in 1971. Dad and I were there. he was just back from another tour in Viet Nam.

it should be noted that The Beatles gave their final full concert at Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966. and, inexplicably Dad was there, as well. Dad was something of an enigma, to many. amongst Dad’s favorite songs he firmly counted John Lennon’s Imagine. of course, by way of karma, that song found it’s own light by Lennon’s hand in 1971. I think dad may have viewed himself as a world citizen (a significant part of the songs message). that may explain why he fought so hard for his country and relished the air of San Francisco.

in any event, I spent most of that day nestled under my Dad’s arm while he roared with the crowd. the details of the game were meaningless to me, as were the hot dogs. there was a moment when Dad looked at me and said, “I love this town and this team. Good things are possible here. I sure do love you, son”. although I can’t immediately recall who actually won that particular contest, I can tell you that the 49ers won their second straight divisional title in 1971 with a 9-5 record. they also won their divisional playoff game against the Washington Redskins by a 24-20 final score. I know that because Dad talked about it. and I always listened to my Dad. Dad also loved the Redskins, but mostly, and evidently, because they were associated with Washington, DC. and, Dad was a patriot, albeit not a New England fan.

so… whenever I see the 49ers play, especially at Candlestick Park, I immediately think of Dad and his electric smile.

I love you Dad. I miss you so much. I coach a lot of other guys’ sons in Lacrosse now. it’s all bitter sweet. I try to be a beacon in my own right. I really do. but, thanks for showing me the way and lighting my path. and, you know I’m listening to, Imagine, by John Lennon (for Dad). but, check this out… while I share that particular Lennon’s effort with you all, consider the Imagine cover by Taio Cruz. Dad would have appreciated it. in fact, I would have called him to talk about it. so, I’ll share it with you.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

October sixth

October18

I miss my Dad.

I think my readers (and, certainly those of you, otherwise, closer to me) know that he took his own life on October 6th, the day before my Birthday. That was a good number of years ago. But, the rawness of it still explodes at the back of my skull every October. I had this gripping post ready to go. But, I’ve sat on it for weeks, uncertain why, until now.

Yesterday I had a good day with Emma Jo.

A quick aside, if you’ll indulge me… I spend a good amount of time with Haley Anne – especially around proper football (soccer). She is gorgeous. And, yesterday I realized that she is developing a love for writing, in her own right. My Dad had more of a gift for drawing. But, her creativity, in general, would have delighted him.

Meanwhile… We are preparing to move our household deeper North into Alpharetta (Milton) horse country off Freemanville Road. There is a long story attached to this. But, I’m more interested in some of the highlights occurring in and around the “big picture”.

While rummaging through the storage spaces in, what will shortly be referred to as the “old house”, we came upon containers crammed with family photos. In one crumbling box was a treasure trove of photo albums and curling black and white snap shots of Haley Anne and Emma Jo’s ancestors. This included my Dad in many an enigmatic situation. There were a bunch of them with him with his arm around me. Or, me hugging him from behind while he worked on some project (this made me recall that I often hugged my Dad. I never shied away from that, even in public, through High School and College). And, these fascinated Emma Jo. She took right to them with an endless and insightful stream of questions. But, the best part was the bonding as she snuggled into me. So, she was my “buddy” all day. We made a few trips back-and-forth to the “new house” having loaded up my big black bad-ass truck. And, we were fortunate to have another classically beautiful Georgia Fall day because the drivers-side window is broke and won’t close. So, we had this incredible moment with a lull in the easy conversation when Emma Jo was caught thinking carefully between questions and observations. She looked so happy. The golden light was pouring through the window and highlighting her hair, still almost white from the lake and sun, that had the wind pushing wildly around her shoulders and face. Her cobalt blue eyes were bright as diamonds. She looked over at me winsomely and shrugged, rather shyly. And, it struck me that Dad had ironically created this moment.

I was so incredibly thankful.

Dad was a better man than me. And, I was fortunate to have him in my life. And, he is always my inspiration for the sort of earthly father I try to be every day. So… October sixth can come and go. But, Dad and Mom live on through Emma Jo and Haley Anne. And, all of it means me living the Authentic Life.

You can roll your collective eyes at me – and, I’ll give it little merit. And, so, I’ll share this video from Glee and their cover of:

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What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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