Fathers Day…

A weird day. Just weird. I’ve never really had a father, so I never really missed that - or struggled with it. Never had that one missing piece that destroyed my life and turned it upside down.

I was never jealous of people and their fathers. Just a relationship that I never experienced.

Fast forward to the late 90s. I met Trey. And surprise!!! Trey had a dad. I remember always shopping for Father’s Day presents. Always a shirt. Always. Very specific shirts. And usually a book, or cigars. Trey always selected the book. And he always bought two. Some years he would get busy and ask me to go buy a shirt, sometimes he would ask me to go get cigars. But the book he always had to pick.

Trey always had a great relationship with his parents. I know at times he was over it…and I’m sure at times they were as well. After all they’re all Strocks…

But…for real, a close close family.

I met the strocks at Thanksgiving one year. I have no clue what year. I just know I was scared outta my wits. I made Trey give me the car keys … so in case I needed to leave I could.

I did not know what to expect. No one did. It was so awkward, but I survived.

Over the years I got to see Treys relationship with his father. A real father/son relationship.

To say that I grew jealous of that relationship is an understatement. Trey and Tommy had a great relationship. Very ebb & flow. Very supportive. Very everything. It was just nice to see and experience.

Watching Trey & Tommy’s interactions over the years was pretty amazing. Seeing the highs & lows / ebb & flow was something I never experienced.

There were things that Trey would get SO SO SO upset about. And then, a week or so later he was doing the same thing. It always amazed me because the things that drive him the most nuts were the same things he would always do. And he would get so upset at it…so finally I had to hold the mirror up - he never really liked that. At all. He would often be complaining and would stop and look at me. His face just kinda asking ‘Oh god. Do I do that too?’

And before you start thinking…oh lord …What did Tommy do to make Trey so upset? … it was always nothing. Tommy always knew everything. Drove Trey nuts. Because he was always mostly usually right. By the way … Trey also knew everything.

Tommy would ‘put clients ahead of family’ like father … like son. Just stuff like that.

Working at Strock for so long I was around it all. I have learned more from Tommy than anyone else in my life besides Trey.

I remember meeting the strocks for the first time. I was most scared to meet Tommy…because I had never had that father experience. So I just didn’t know what to expect.

Everybody was scared ‘what’s Tommy gonna do? How’s Tommy gonna react?’ All I know is I wanted to run and head home.

And then he walked in from checking on the turkey. He was everything except for what I was expecting. I remember leaving and Trey asked ‘well how was that?’ All I remember saying was ‘your mom is scarier than your dad.’

In my mind I had built Tommy into this tyrannical back woods ‘bubba’…everything that Tommy is not.

So after years of fear it was over. Getting to know T&B over the years, and then working with them. I just learned and saw how a real Father was, and how he treated and dealt with his children. Even when he didn’t agree or understand them.

Trey was never really comfortable with upsetting his father. He always felt like a disappointment. But, from the moment I met Tommy there was no indication of that whatsoever. Ever. It was not something never talked about.

And then one day years later we were having lunch at Soda Water grille on Daniel Island. Someone came up to say hello to Tommy(everyone knew Tommy) and so he introduced everyone ‘this is my wife Brenda…’ and then they interrupted and said ‘well I didn’t know you had two sons?’

I think in that moment Trey, Brenda, and I wanted to crawl under the table, and we all needed to change our pants.

…and then Without even a thought Tommy laughed and said ‘well this is my son Trey…and this is our ‘adopted’ Son Thomas’. And that was that.

Never really talked about again. No need.

Tommy is a Strock. Very opinionated, always right, and knows everything. (They’re all like that, but not in a bad way). But, there is no one that could be a better role model.

People on the street, random strangers, people at the bank - act like Paul Newman, or some classic celebrity just graced them with his presence. People would always be like oh wow Tommy!!! I was like okay…he’s married. Whackos

And I don’t think there are many men on earth that love their Brides quite like he does. He dotes on Brenda. Writes her little love notes all the time. Loves his family hard. May disagree with them or have different thoughts…but I’ll never forget when he was telling me how proud he was of his daughter Missy. He didnt understand her field… but she went and did it.

One of Treys absolute favorite things, and something that was always blocked out in his calendar was ‘Breakfast with Dad’ every Friday. It was their thing. And they went even after retirement. Once the strocks started traveling it petered out. But that time with his dad was always one of Treys favorites. It actually probably was Treys favorite. If Tommy called for breakfast everything was dropped, schedules changed, and things moved. Family was everything to Trey. And he always looked up to, admired, and appreciated his father.

So did I. And when everything started crashing down…all I could think was I’m going to be alone. I’m going to be alone…

While I have certainly felt very alone … I’ve never been alone. I’ve always looked up to and respected Tommy tremendously. But, everything changed on that day in March. Everything.

Tommy & Brenda are who I go to with every stupid problem, every insecurity, every question, every need for feeling normal.

Hearing ‘I love you Son’ or ‘love you Boys’ nowadays is the best feeling. Having someone like Tommy care about us as much as he does is a pretty incredible feeling.

I know benton Feels that same way.

Happy (almost, but not quite father) or (better than the real thing) Fathers Day Tommy!!!

T and his Bride

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