The Chair

7-20 chair

The chair is where my father sat,
On sunny summer days,
Beer in hand, shirt undone,
The paper had his gaze.

The grass was never greener,
Than in my memory,
The shade was always coolest,
On the days he sat with me.

The Willow tree kept him in comfort,
It wept in gentle breeze,
We’d sit there without speaking,
Happy in each other’s company.

The tree has grown in time,
And the years had taken toll,
The chair has been replaced,
My father had grown old.

He no longer gets to sit there,
He lies at rest instead,
But place a chair under that tree,
And it’s like he’s there again.

A chair, a tree, a father,
You have these in your life too,
Though they may not be the same things,
They matter much to you.

When it comes time to count your blessings,
Remember this in life’s race,
The things that really matter,
Exist in plain view of your face.

[Ed. Note. Craig Ballantyne is the proud son of Howard Ballantyne, an unconventional man who believed that the most important lessons aren’t taught in school.]
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  • Craig,
    Thanks for this today!

    Robo Hendrickson

  • It’s things like this that remind me to be “present” in the moment with my family, particularly my son Champ. Thanks for sharing Craig.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks Mike, happy to help.
      Craig

  • Jason Permatteo

    Thank you Craig, this was excellent. I’m about to celebrate the same anniversary for my old man on the 23rd, it’s been 13 years now and although it never gets easier I still draw massive inspiration from him every day. He was one to never give up on an idea or dream and proved to find success no matter what obstacles were in his path. Reinvented himself over and over, certainly one attribute I strive for – adaptability!

    Again thanks for sharing your inspiration and all that you do.

    Jason

  • Craig,
    The world needs more unconventional men.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Sam

  • Mike Ross

    I love it when you talk about your Dad and the farm. I grew up on a farm, too. My Dad has that same unbelievable “dad-strength” that you just can’t get in a weight room. We didn’t have the tree, but we took many great truck rides to various local places, usually with the windows down and in silence. Just two men happy to be with each other without having to talk.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      The truck rides were the best up here too, thanks Mike.
      Craig

  • Russ Holmes

    Thanks for sharing this today! Very similiar to my Father Homer Holmes. A very simple man who taught me so much about life.

    Thanks Again!!

  • Hi Craig

    I really draw inspiration from that.
    It really IS true that the most important lessons are not taught in school…
    And it reminds me of how valuable the time is tgat wie can spent with our loved ones…

    Thanks

    Mike

  • Hi Craig,
    Thanks for sharing. Brought back some positive memories of my Dad. Although my Dad was not an alcholic he was bipolar. Life was like a roller coaster with him …My Dad was forty years older than me and his “Dad Strength” was with him until his last couple of years. Even at the age of 75 he was incredibly strong naturally. I was always in awe of this!

    Warmest regards
    Mike

  • Ian

    Great post Craig. Thanks for sharing the poem. I admire your writing tremendously and the wisdom you share. Thanks.

  • Hi Craig,
    Very moving poem that puts life into perspective. It is so important to take a step back from the rigors of life to “see” what really matters in your life. Nicely said.

  • Great stuff, dude. I normally unconsciously glaze over poetry but this was really cool.

  • Great tribute to your Dad; really well said Craig. All we can do is take the best of those we love and do our best to avoid their mistakes.
    Cheers,
    Maria

  • Wow Craig what a poem! So inspiring!! My grandmother died a few months ago,I would also Like to write a poem!

  • Sunil

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for sharing this so simply & nicely, and inspiring us see that we are humans first. It also brought back many memories of my Dad & Mom. Althoudh we are all college grads but to encourage us to keep learning from everybody & everything in life, my mom at times used to ask, “Am I not managing all of you and everything in my life very well without a college degree?” She was an excellent and most selfless person I have seen in my life so far. She always helped others without anything in return, and had earned tremendous respect. I hope one day I can write more about my mom & dad.

    I am glad that you learned from your Dad’s near death incident and spent time with him after that as many of us do not get such wake up call and do not realize this till its too late.

    Therefore, please allow me to repeat the quotation above from Dave Kekich, “Cherish time, your most valuable resource. You can never make up the time you lose. The most important choices you’ll ever make are how you use your time.”

    I want to learn a lot from you,

    With Best Wishes & Regards,

    Sunil

  • Hazel

    Thanks for the “Chair” I have one also, He’s turning 74 on the 25th stopped drinking 25yrs ago, but your father morals are the same, farmer, hard worker, & high morals. I’ll make sure his son reads your article. thanks again good for you.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Hazel, great to hear from you.
      Craig

  • Chef Vee (Valetta)

    6 Aug will be 21 years for my dad having transitioned. I did a poem for his eulogy . Thanks for the reminder…

  • Adele

    Thank you for opening your heart and sharing such a treasured part of ‘you’. I count myself so very luck to still have my dad to guide me, even as an adult and a parent now myself.
    I think I might go and give my dad a call right now….

    Cheers to you and your dad
    Adele :O)

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you, Adele. Your dad will be very happy to receive your call. Well done.

  • Bhaskar

    Craig….your newsletter drives me on most days…..but really moved me today…in a way that most things around don’t usually do….keep the faith…he lives in you…

    rgrds,
    bhaskar,
    India

  • Tara

    Craig,
    Your poem really hit home. Thank you for sharing it.
    Tara

  • Tanya

    Hi Craig, thanks for sharing! My dad passed just over five years ago. He passed away early too, due to not looking after himself, but I have lots of wonderful memories of him too. Your poem brought tears to my eyes. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Ro

    Thanks, Craig. My Dad died on 3 Aug at the age of 92, also having devoted far to much to the martinis, though in later years he pretty much limited himself to wine, and not as much of it. At his memorial service we had a monitor showing a loop of photos, and one was his empty chair, which was beat up and horribly uncomfortable, but irreplaceable. He gave us the standards we still live by, and always the certain knowledge he loved us and would help in whatever way he could. We had his last 10 days to finally say all the “mushy” things we could not say before, and mostly, to honor him and say goodbye for now.

  • Mfoniso

    Thanks for sharing Craig and for Dave’s quotation:
    Cherish time, your most valuable resource. You can never make up the time you lose. The most important choices you’ll ever make are how you use your time.” – Dave Kekich

    Reminds me that I had better ‘wake up and smell the roses’…

    Much Appreciated,
    Mfoniso

  • Matt

    Thank you for this post, Craig. It brought to me memories of my father who passed over 25 years ago when I was about 19 years old. Unfortunately, I never got to know him like I would have liked to; he was never the most demonstrative of people or a man of words. Nonetheless , he taught me many useful lessons for life in his own way and I often think that it would have been great if he had lived longer until I was able to appreciate him more and thank him for what he instilled in me without my even been aware of it at the time. I have my own family now and never let a day go by without telling them what they mean to me. Life truly is a gift and the only thing that really counts for anything is our effect on the people that we meet along the way.

  • Love your poem and great respect you have for your father despite his drinking but he worked hard obviously loved what he did and loved you and his family, what more can we ask of our parents esp fathers, I am one and a granddad, I love my family, love life and fitness. Many thanks for sharing this with the world.

  • Corinna

    Well done, Craig.

  • Ariane

    Craig,

    Thank you for sharing this.
    Your thoughts sculpted into this poem touched me.

    You reminded me of some important lessons.
    One of them: Expressing yourself, creativity is key to happiness.
    As is telling what we really feel and think.

  • James G. Pearo III – CFT

    Thank you for sharing Craig!
    I see that we have some things in common.
    Live well

  • Dan

    Craig,
    Very touching poem about your father and the internal feelings you had for him. I lost my father eight years ago to lung cancer. While your father’s vice was drinking, mine was smoking. From the time I got into health and fitness at fifteen (I’m 54 now) I tried to get him to stop but he was going to live life his way. He came from good “stock” and like your dad, was a hard worker. He should still be alive today, but cut his life short due to his vice. You really can’t save someone from themselves if they don’t want to be saved. I hope that for the rest of your life, when you think of your father, a smile will come to your face and the morals and work ethic he instilled in you will give you strength and warm your heart.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Hi Dan, thank you, and you’re absolutely right…you can’t save those that don’t want to be saved. That’s one of the worst parts about it. Thanks again.

  • Denise

    Craig-
    I have been rehabbing an injury for the past 6 months and I have to tell you that your newsletter, the workouts you provide, they inspire me to do what I can and really are a motivation for me. Your newsletter today and reading poem really was what I needed after a brutal week…cherish not just what I have but also WHO I have….you are my inspiration. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Hi Craig, I must say this is one of the best blog posts I’ve read in quite a while! Great lessons to be learned here that transcend far beyond health and fitness. I commend you for sharing your story and poem.

    You’ve payed a great honor to your Dad by sharing this on his birthday. With all the people you’ve inspired, gave hope, and encouraged with your coaching
    I think one of main things that draws others to follow you is the fact that you’re genuine. We can see now where this comes from. I would have liked to have met your father.

    Grew up on a farm myself in a rural community and was blessed to have been influenced by that culture. Many a good man who were hard working, honest, and caring in spite of their faults. We’re all sinners anyways saved only by His grace.

    I hope your day is filled with good memories and reflections of the time you spent together. Keep up the good work brother, you’re the real deal. I appreciate all that you contribute. – Shane

  • Craig,

    Touching poem … it doesn’t matter how much time we had with someone, it’s never really long enough .. and appreciate the people and blessings in our lives is so important. Thx for the reminder, and you’re in our thoughts this coming weekend.

  • John

    Thanks for sharing that poem Craig,, I needed that..
    all the best and regards
    john a

  • Kevin Killingsworth

    Thanks Craig,

    My father is still around and we’ve always had a great relationship until the last few years where we’ve had disagreements regarding my children, his grandchildren. It’s really driven a wedge between us. Reading your poem has inspired me to attempt once more to get past that issue so we can enjoy our time together while it lasts.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Hope you can turn the corner on that, thanks Kevin.

  • Larry

    Great poem Craig,

    Your exercise programs will help many people live longer than they may have been headed for. Keep up the hard work and good programs coming along.

  • Great article and poem Craig – I appreciate you sharing it with everyone and the photo helps pull it together.

    Hope you’re well!

  • My father just passed last Feb. Thanks for sharing. All situations are different but after you lose a father, things you once took for granted simply don’t exist. Again, thanks for showing us this part of your life.
    Michael

  • James Caldwell

    Thanks Craig,

    My dad was my hero.he to past some 4 years ago to but it was from a heart condition.He to was also smart but very stubborn he was a smoker but he was taking big risk with health.

  • steve

    Heartfelt and toiching, thanks for sharing Craig.

  • Heather

    Craig,
    Your poem is outstanding. It made me cry.
    My Mom died at age 59 from complications of Diabetes. She never exercised or followed her diet but she would take pills and insulin shots out the ying yang. I too have Diabetes but I am fighting it with every bit of strength I have so my daughter does not have to cry because I died too young. God Bless you and your work!
    Heather Voithofer

  • Craig,
    It’s been 42 years since my father died from drugs. I have 2 memories of him that feel like they happened yesterday:
    1. He was a small town doctor (he took deer meat as payment from some of his patients). One Saturday, he closed the clinic and took my brother and me to see “Count Yorga, Vampire Killer.”. Just us boys out to the movies.
    2. My mom had an open sore on her leg. One day, he asked me to help him clean it. I handed him scissors and bandages and stuff, and I felt 10 feet tall.
    His death from drug abuse was one lesson. His overwhelming unconditional love, and his raising his kids the opposite of his own racist biased upbringing, was another.
    Thanks for this poem.
    P.S. I am drug-free, drink-free, smoke-free, and exercise and eat healthy, so I can be with my wife and kids a lot longer.

  • Bruce Storrs

    My father, also taught me the ills of drinking. Most importantly, he taught me perserverance. I learned that no matter what obstacles we face, never give up! Always strive to achieve and always be there for your family! My Dad too, was a great man! Craig, thanks for your inspiration.

  • Katherine

    Very beautiful Craig. “You’ve got to live life like we’re dyin'” Our time is but a fleeting moment in the big picture but our big picture is a lifetime.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Lupita N

    Thanks Craig, My Dad passed away in March and it is true, we need to live each day to the max and let those we love know it.

  • Scott A.

    Thanks for that story and poem Craig. It brought back a lot of memories of my dad who passed away in 2011. It ‘s good to step away from the world and think of the people that are important to us all. Surprising enough. I just received this after my TT workout tonight. Peace.

  • Thanks for the poem and story Craig. I almost lost my Dad to cancer last year. He’s still with us but it’s taught me to appreciate every minute with him, even the ones I used to not really enjoy.

  • lovely…thank you getting personal with us.

  • Cathy Bailey

    Bravo!
    I am living the same story with my mother and it is difficult to say the least. But your poem states it very well. Regardless of what they choose to do with their own life and bodies, they are still loved for the strongness that they portray to us a children growing up.

  • I enjoy your work. You put into practice some of the same ideas as Gretchen Rubin the author of The Happiness Project.

    I’m sending you a short comment because I received a similar one when I began my blog. It’s kinda a gold star for you. To let you know your words can jump start
    someone’s attitude.

    Whatever brings you joy. Why not write ten rules for how to FIND YOUR BLISS? Incidentally my award-winning WWII novel, Lebensborn, was based on a true incident. How do I find contact information for a potential producer?

  • Brian Weerts

    Craig, thank you. My father grew up on a farm, and for a time had a farm implement business. At times we rented farm houses and I came to know some of the life on a farm. They are memories that rank high on my list of “Best”.
    Sadly, I have no children, and would say that is my greatest regret. Cherish them, as I believe you do. For me I am trying to touch young lives through a local school.
    Thank you for your integrety and candor.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you, Brian, greatly appreciated.

  • ishan

    hi great elaboartion on getting strength from unconvention personality
    ishaan

  • Honolulu Aunty

    That was beautiful. Mahalo for sharing.

    • ttcert

      Happy to help, thanks!

  • ttcert

    Happy to help!

  • ttcert

    Thanks Mike!

  • ttcert

    Thanks Scott, stay strong!

  • Luciano

    Very timely message and poem. Five years ago this month my dad Vincenzo passed away. Miss him a lot. Your poem triggered lots of good memories of my own ‘chair like’ experiences.

    • ttcert

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Luciano. I would loved to have met your father and to have seen 3 generations of the Del Montes together!

  • americanreal

    thank you….beautiful

  • Amy Lewis

    Thanks for sharing. My dad is gone 20 years now. This is a great reminder that they are always with us if we listen, and to continue to be grateful for the things in front of us. Happy Sunday, Craig.

  • Aaron Gillies

    What a great poem! Well written. It stirred up the desire to be creative again, writing poems or songs. I’ve been so wrapped up in the rat race, I’m no longer very creative.

    • Aaron, I encourage you to free up some time on Saturday morning where you can be creative.