The Watch Story:
In Part 1, I explained how my first ATA instructor, Mr. Rex Veeder, gave me a beautiful watch in 1983. That gift impressed me in a special way and has always been a cornerstone in my relationship with this special man that started me on the path of Taekwondo. However, I did not realize that this watch / gift had also come to mean something very special to our oldest son, Jacob, born in 1980.
On Father’s Day 2018—35 years after the original gift from Mr. Veeder—Jacob took me and his mom to brunch and presented a wonderful gift, a beautiful Citizen Watch, pictured here.
And below is the note he attached to that gift, explaining how he had watched me handle the original watch given in 1983.
Father’s Day Note: 2018
“Today I’d like to reflect on how you have inspired me to shape the man I am today. All my experiences have contributed to present day status, but I would like to focus on one, small item in particular.
“As a young boy, I remember looking up to you and always imagining I would be like you one day. I saw you work in the business, I saw you renovate the old house, I saw you buy the new house.
“But there was one thing I saw, in a small box next to your bed that inspired me more than you probably know. It didn’t come out often, but when it did, it brought a smile to your face and you told me the story of the special man that gave it to you. It was small…but it was very nice, probably the first ‘very nice’ thing I ever saw. I was determined to work hard so one day I could have something as nice.
“Growing up, I recall whenever it came out, you were looking your best; something special was happening. Seeing you in those moments always made me smile. Unfortunately, there was a ‘dryer incident’ that took that specific item away from you. But the memory and inspiration from it lives on. While I can’t replace it, hopefuly this small gift from a different type of man will make you smile just the same.”
I love you Dad – Jacob #1 son
This story has an incredible ending. Mr. Veeder lived in Minnesota for most of the last 30 years. We talked intermittently but his work at the university and his failing health made it impossible for him to continue in Taekwondo. Then in 2019 he moved back to Tucson where we originally met. I went to see him in January 2020 and I brought both watches and the wonderful card from Jacob and told him the entire story. It was a special moment for us both,captured in these photos.