“Did you know that Brett shot 92% from the free throw line?”
Gene smiled at me from across the couch, his bright blue eyes twinkling. They matched his blue cotton shirt, tucked carefully into a pair of crisp khaki pants.
I had only known Gene for two weeks, and this was the third time he had rattled off Brett’s impressive free throw stats.
“Really?” I asked innocently. “I had no idea, Gene!”
I turned to Brett. “Did you play basketball in high school or something?”
Brett smiled. “A little,” he answered playfully.
Gene stared at me, not quite sure if we were joking or not. To be on the safe side, he reminded me of some of Brett’s other impressive basketball stats, just to make sure I knew exactly how lucky I was to be dating him.
As if I didn’t know.
Gene and I had this same conversation almost every time we saw each other during the first year that Brett and I dated. He bragged about Brett, I pretended I had no idea that Brett played basketball, and then he bragged some more. On our wedding day, Gene’s entire toast was about Brett. He told basketball stories and spouted off sports highlights, making sure everyone in the room, including my entire family, knew of Brett’s accomplishments. Gene took every possible opportunity to remind me how blessed I was to be marrying his son.
Gene always said he wanted to live long enough to see Brett become a dad. Last week after Gene’s passing, a friend wrote to me, “Good fathers raise good fathers.” That statement could not be truer for Gene and Brett. Nobody could have done a better job of raising the father of my child than Gene Gadd.
And for that Gene, I will never be able to thank you enough. See you in Heaven.