Hi Dad, it’s been a while since we talked. I hope you’re doing well. When I think of you, I can only smile because I imagine you and uncle Julius having one of your late-night disagreements after a few whiskeys. You guys argued about everything under the sun. In the end, you always dragged me into the discussion, hoping I would pick your side and reinforce the point you were trying to make. Thinking back, this must have been the root cause why I like presenting so much. I also remember the weekend barbeque sessions. You only needed one ray of sunlight, and the barbeque came out. It became our most important tradition. All of my friends still remember those evenings. Laughter, lots of food, and so much bragging. Our house felt like a neighborhood community. Everyone was welcome as long as they respected the house rules. Be nice, eat, no swearing, and take off your shoes.
Dad, if I would tell you everything that happened in 2020, you wouldn’t even believe it. Fun fact: Mike Tyson got back into the ring. You would have appreciated that. It has been a trying and challenging year for so many people. Myself included. Although it feels the year flew by, it was difficult to stay motivated. It’s hard having less face-to-face interaction with family, friends, and colleagues, a lot of the time indoors, and seeing the world more polarized than ever. Dad, your early lessons were precious, especially getting through this year. You told me to never look down, always look up so I can see what’s up ahead. You also told me to stay focused and how difficult that would be at times. That’s why we played 8-ball pool games and chess. It was important to you that I kept my focus and my eye on the ball. You knew how tough life could get and wanted to make sure I wouldn’t get distracted. I am still learning at 45 years old, but I am getting better at keeping my head down and focusing on the task at hand. I learned how to prioritize better, even when my head is full. It comes down to being brutally honest with yourself. This year made me realize even more I want and need to spend time with valuable people. The ones who have been supportive, even when times got tough.
Dad, you never got to meet your grandchildren. I would have loved to see you spend time with Lana and Amare. The three of you would have so much fun. You can be proud of them. 2020 was a strange year for them too, but they’re so strong. Amare has picked up go-karting and is a little trouble maker. Your grandson is also a model for a kid’s clothing brand. Lana turns out to be a creative beast! During the circuit breaker or lockdown in Singapore, she shifted her attention to reading and building whatever she puts her mind to. I always make sure they know who you are.
Lastly, Dad, many events this year in the US, inspired me to write an article about our past and racial injustice. The article is called I am Exhausted, and I Want You to Know Why. I know how hard you worked so I and my sisters could have a good and worry-free life. I know you and mom, had to deal with race issues almost daily. You both tried so hard to protect us from it. I can only imagine how much you and mom had to sacrifice for us. I respect and will always love you.
2020 showed me how important my family, friends, and colleagues are to me. I can only hope I will be a positive influence in their lives, the way my father was for me.
In memory of James Bernard Lints, 17–10–1946 to 25–02–2008