I’ve written before about how I grew up in a family of 17 children. I have two older brothers and two older sisters. My oldest sister’s name is Mary Kathryn “Mary Kay” Hersemann. Mary Kay and her husband, Joel, raised three children: Angelica, Joseph “Joey,” and Alanna. On Sunday, December 1, 2019, Joey was killed as a result of an automobile accident. He left behind his wife, Katie, and three young children, Layla, Madison, and Sam. Joey was 38 years old when he died.
During the years that my children were growing up — the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s — my wife, Georgette, made sure that they were exposed to as much music as possible. When she was pregnant with each of them, she would pray, read, and sing out loud, so they would develop a love for God, reading, and music. After they were born, she did the same thing while she nursed each of them.
A local lawyer who I know — I’ll call him Rick — was recently sentenced by a federal court judge to 60 days in prison for taking money that belonged to one of his elderly clients. The Lawyer is in his mid-sixties. I want to share with you a letter that I sent to him after the judge handed down the sentence. I think you will agree that the advice that I shared with him would be of benefit to anyone. The sending of the letter was what I considered to be a spiritual work of mercy. Here’s what I wrote in the letter:
In 1996, my wife, Georgette, started experiencing severe headaches. At the time, she was pregnant. She went to her doctor and after an examination was told there was a growth behind her left eardrum. Her doctor referred her to Dr. Peter Smith, a specialist in St. Louis, and told her that she needed to see him as soon as possible.
Last November, I received a letter from the wife (“Carla”) of one of my longtime business coaches and mentors. In the letter, Carla said her husband (“Dan”) was going to be celebrating his 60th birthday in December. She said that, as a gift, she wanted to give him letters from his friends and colleagues. She asked if I would be willing to write a letter to her husband that told him how I had benefited from my relationship with him.
On the Saturday before Easter in 1969, I picked up the telephone and dialed the number for my Uncle Tony Couri’s house. At that time, I was 11 years old. I wanted to ask my cousin Gene Couri, who was the same age as I was, if his family was planning to go to our grandparents’ house for Easter. Gene and I shared the same grandparents, Tom and Effie Williams, and they had invited their children and grandchildren to join them for dinner on Easter Sunday.