HEROS - Sun, April 13 By Jennifer Green
I can count on one hand the number of people that have unequivocally influenced my life in such an important way that they directly shaped my core values and created the person that I am today. One of these people is this man, my uncle, Frank Lehman.
Though always full of love, my childhood was at times a bit chaotic. My father was an artistic, moody, unpredictable man with bouts of alcoholism and in hindsight, probably undiagnosed bipolar disorder. When times were good, life was amazing and magical. He taught me about the importance of being a dreamer and most of my artistic qualities come from him.
My Uncle Frank however, gave me stability and safety. The home of my uncle and aunt (JoyAnn Lehman - another of my five greatest life influencers) was my refuge . . .my safe zone. I knew that no matter what was going on in my life, I would always be welcomed and cared for there.
My uncle patiently included me in backyard softball games with his girls (even though I was a wimp and scared of every movement the ball made), he quietly slipped me money when I left to spend time in Chicago during the summers, he was the first to excitedly tell me I had won the Best of Show ribbon for muffins at the 4H Fair, and he shares a special look and twinkle in his eyes with me when there’s any mention of my aunt’s famous toffee bars.
I’ve watched him work tirelessly on his farm, help a mother cow give birth to her calf and lovingly pat the trees he taps for sap. He continues to care and provide for his baby sister (my mother) and is a loving husband, father, and grandfather.
My Uncle Frank is without a doubt one of the most honorable, hard-working men I have ever had the honor of knowing and I am a better person because of him.
To this day, I can’t recall my uncle ever speaking the words, “I love you” out loud to me . . . he never has to . . .it’s just something I know, like rain is wet and snow is cold. He tells it in action, which is the most meaningful kind of love there can ever be in life.