CHRISTMAS STORIES IV
This is the fourth year I have recorded extraordinary lessons taught to me by my father’s example. Ernest A. Emord (a.k.a. Tommy Reardon) was a remarkable man in many respects. Comfortable in his own skin, as my mother used to remark about him, he was exceedingly handsome yet cared little about that fact. He was a true patriot who served 33 years in the American military, always willing to sacrifice his own life if need be to protect the nation and those who served with him. He was humble, yet courageous; an opponent of corporal punishment for his family, yet a professional boxer; and a consummate gentleman, yet ever mindful of the underdog and less fortunate.
Baby Al. It was the 1960’s. I was a boy of 6 or 7. My sisters were beautiful and the home coming queens at the high school. They always seemed to attract people from all walks of life. One of those less fortunate who ended up coming to our home one day was a man nicknamed “Baby Al.” Although that was his nickname, no one seemed to know his real name. The fellow dressed in old military fatigues with a military overcoat. He was a shy reclusive sort who suffered from a mental disability and possibly either alcohol or drug addiction. He lived on the street. Because my father was insistent on personal cleanliness, always looked so perfectly well groomed and sharp in his military uniform, and was critical of civilians who wore military garb casually, I thought he would usher Baby Al away when he came home.
Much to my surprise, when he arrived home, he greeted Baby Al with a friendly smile and a handshake. He sat down next to him and asked him kind questions. He invited Baby Al to dinner, and he let him stay in our home for a few days with my mom cooking Baby Al a generous breakfast and providing him friendship without judgment. When I explained to my mother that I was surprised to see my father’s reaction, she assured me that, in fact, it was perfectly in character. “You’re father always looks out for the underdog,” she said. “Baby Al needs our help and friendship, and your father understands that a kind gesture and a good meal can go a long way for someone down on their luck.”
Justice. After my father retired from the military, he became a real estate broker and salesman as well as a real estate appraiser. Frequently, when he served as a broker, real estate salesmen would share their commissions with him. My father was scrupulously honest and quite generous. He was always mindful of those less fortunate and, if he thought a person honest and hard-working, would endeavor to help him or her out of a rough spot. Of course, there were those who were dishonest in his profession, but it was never wise for them to cross my father’s path. He was quick to ensure that justice was served. In one case, a real estate agent with whom he shared a commission, decided to pocket the entire payment rather than pay my father what was due. Although the amount was trifling to him (and although he would have given the amount to the real estate agent had he humbly asked for help), my father did not tolerate thievery. I recall the day my father took an unexpected detour while I traveled with him in the car. I was curious but accepted my father’s explanation that he needed to conduct a little business. The dishonest real estate agent was in the car ahead of us and my father followed him to his place of business. The man did not realize my father was following him and entered his business.
Shortly thereafter, my father pulled into the drive and told me to remain in the car for a moment. He then went into the building. A few minutes passed, so I decided to go into the building myself. When I entered, there was my father holding the hapless real estate agent in the air against the wall with one hand and clenching his other hand in a fist cocked and ready to fire. The real estate agent was shaking. I recall my father saying in a stern yet quiet tone of voice that he was a miserable and dishonest human being, that he would not make him pay the fee owed, but would never do business with him again. He said that he would spare him because he was not man enough to defend himself, and then let the fellow down to fall in a shaking heap on the ground. My father then turned, and we left. He did not say a word about what took place thereafter, and I knew it was best to allow the incident to pass without comment. Justice had been served.
Turn About Is Fair Play. Next to my parents’ home, they had a carriage house. They would rent that house out to other families. On one occasion, a family failed to pay the rent for several months. While my parents could excuse this for a time, they felt as though the occupants were taking advantage of their hospitality and, so, told them they had to leave. The renters decided to respond vengefully. They poured the contents of trash dumpsters throughout the house and damaged the dry wall, carpeting, and fixtures. My father examined the damage without saying a word. I then recall that a few days later he rented a dump truck and went to the local dump and shoveled into it all the debris that would fit. He then visited the location where the former renters had purchased a house. He unloaded the contents of the dump truck in their front yard and left a note. The note stated in so many words: “You left your belongings at your last place of abode. I am pleased to return them to you. Ernie Emord.”
Jujitsu. My father was a boxing coach for the United States Air Force. In the 1960’s the Air Force toyed with the idea of replacing boxing in basic training with karate and jujitsu. My father opposed that move but believed the military brass needed a demonstration to prove the superiority of boxing to martial arts. As an accomplished professional boxer, my father nominated himself to fight the top jujitsu coach in the Air Force. With higher ups watching, my father entered the ring with that expert. In the first few rounds, my father appeared to be getting the worst of it, as the jujitsu expert was able to land body kicks effectively that kept my father from reaching him with a punch. My father then changed his tactic and whenever the martial artist’s foot headed towards him, he hit the foot, the ankle, or the calf with a powerful right hand, producing huge welts on the martial artist’s feet and calf, leaving him unable to raise a leg. Relegated to dependency on his upper body, the martial artist fell prey to my father’s superior strength and skill, ultimately being knocked out with a right hand, left hook combination. After that, the Air Force brass seemed satisfied that they ought not abandon boxing in basic training in favor of the martial arts.
The Sisters with the Alcoholic Parents. In the 1960’s, when my sisters were in high school, and I in grade school, two girls began hanging around our house all hours of the day and night. They were friends of my sisters, but unlike other friends, they seemed to hate to leave. They appeared malnourished and to need dental work. They raved on and on about every meal served to them by my mother. My mother could sense that something was wrong at their home. Then, after several months of their coming over and staying and staying, my mother finally discovered the reason.
They confessed that their parents were alcoholics and that they never knew whether the house would have any food in it or any other necessities. They begged my mom not to tell anyone because they feared that their parents would be arrested and they would starve. Although they did not ask for help, my mother asked my father to look into the matter. My father went over to their home only to discover when he arrived that the parents of these children were both crawling around in a drunken stupor on their front lawn. My father picked them up despite their violent protests and put them back in their home, was appalled at the extreme filth present in the home, and decided that the best thing to do was to have them arrested. He called the police. He then returned home. My mother and father then became surrogate parents for these girls. The girls stayed at our home most days until they graduated from high school, and my parents took care of them as if they were their own children.
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© 2014 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved
Jonathan W. Emord is an attorney who practices constitutional and administrative law before the federal courts and agencies. Ron Paul calls Jonathan “a hero of the health freedom revolution” and says “all freedom-loving Americans are in [his] debt . . . for his courtroom [victories] on behalf of health freedom.” He has defeated the FDA in federal court a remarkable eight times, seven on First Amendment grounds, and is the author of the Amazon bestsellers The Rise of Tyranny, Global Censorship of Health Information, and Restore the Republic. He is the American Justice columnist for U.S.A. Today Magazine and joins Robert Scott Bell weekly for “Jonathan Emord’s Sacred Fire of Liberty,” an hour long radio program on government threats to individual liberty. For more info visit Emord.com, join the Emord FDA/FTC Law Group on Linkedin, and follow Jonathan on twitter (@jonathanwemord).
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My father was a boxing coach for the United States Air Force. In the
1960’s the Air Force toyed with the idea of replacing boxing in
basic training with karate and jujitsu. My father opposed that move
but believed the military brass needed a demonstration to prove the
superiority of boxing to martial arts.