Speech

Thank you all so very much for coming.  As I’ve talked to some of you this past week, I’ve come to realize that everyone thought as highly of my father as I did. 
I love my Dad very much, and I know he loved me.  I was proud of the things he did in his life, just as I know he was proud of the man I had become.  Many people do not get that luxury.  I have countless moments in my life I can visit to remember the greatest man I’ve ever known.  A Tarzan yell from the living room.  I steady hand on the seat as I learned to ride my bicycle.  The sound of his voice on the micro-cassette recorder as he sat at the kitchen table on the weekends, comparing the prices on the price sheet in front of him to the ones he had spoken to himself while walking the competitor’s stores.  The gleam in his eye when he made a joke, often followed by a self-acknowledging, “Oh” and a sly grin.  The sense of comfort of knowing if I called him, he would answer or call right back.  Every time.
Tony taught me everything I know about being a good, honest man.  He taught me loyalty.  He taught me to respect people.  He told me that a man never breaks his word, and that a handshake is more than a formality.  He taught me generosity and strength.  He taught me the value of a hard day’s work.  He taught me how to laugh, even if the joke was on me.  He pointed to John Wayne on the television and showed me the importance of heroes.  Dad was my hero; I still want to be him when I grow up.
I want to share a particular experience with you.  When I was in Cub Scouts, we took part in the annual Father Son Cake Bake.  Neither of us was particularly skilled at baking, and we had to come up with something we could bake to fit the theme, which was, ‘New Frontiers’ this particular year.  I was getting frustrated, and Dad finally said, “I have an idea.”  We baked two round chocolate cakes, one a bit smaller than the other.  We made a chocolate icing with copious amounts of green food coloring and various nuts.  We assembled the cake in a lopsided fashion and Dad took a ceramic cowboy boot and made an imprint.  We titled it, ‘Watch your Step’ and took it to the competition.  All of the judges would stop, look at it a moment, and laugh.  However, there were other cakes that had taken HOURS.  Space Shuttles, forts, underwater scenes…so they couldn’t give our little cow pattie one of the top awards; however, they made a ‘Nice Try’ award for us that year to show us how much they loved the idea.  That was my Dad.
My final memories of my father take place just before Christmas.  He came to Tulsa, we had lunch, and went to see the remake of ‘True Grit’.  As we were leaving the movie, I asked him, “So, what did you think?”  He looked at me and said, “It was okay…” Then he got that sly smile on his face and finished, “…but it wasn’t The Duke.”  I know how he felt, because there will also never be another Tony Martin.
Thank You.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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