On June 11, 2019, MY DAD PASSED AWAY. He was 94. For 67 Father’s Days he has been here for me.

I’ve often wondered where my Dad’s patience flowed from. He needed it in great doses raising me. It must have sprung from his humility and deep sense of grace. I’ve often wondered though how he made the tough decisions and choices—the ones that always seemed to be good for us.

For example: early in my life, my parents wanted to instill and inspire a love of music in me, and my brother. When I was around 5 or 6 they bought a small accordian and started me in private lessons. Probably, one of my first acts of rebellion was hating that dang accordian—I don’t care how much they enjoyed the Lawrence Welk Show. I knew I wanted to play the drums. And I did, and they supported me beyond rational explanation.

By the late 60s, my Dad was pastor of a Baptist Church. The causes and the big sins that Baptists railed against over the years have varied. In that era, dancing was on the list. So, we have a Baptist preacher, and a Baptist preacher’s son who is playing drums in a little rock and roll band good enough that we played a lot of gigs—teen towns, school mixers and such. I have no doubt that my dad must have taken criticism—at least— over that, but he never mentioned it to me. He did have one rule: no matter what time I got home on a Saturday night from playing, I was expected to be in Sunday School the next morning, and awake until the benediction, around noonish. After that, I was allowed to join him in sleeping through the third quarter of the Dallas Cowboys game.

I often thought of asking him how he navigated that issue. But, all that matters is that he did, and to this day, there is a set of drums in my house that I play nearly every day. Each of my two sons have drum sets that they play regularly, including in their respective churches, which ironically would have never happened in a Baptist church in the 50s and 60s. You would have been more apt to find a pool table in the fellowship hall or a vegan casserole at a covered-dish dinner than a set of drums in the sanctuary.

We had Dad’s memorial service Friday. It was wonderful. I’m confident he would have loved it. Now that I think about it, we should have had a drum circle. He has three great-grandsons who are playing the drums. But, I’m not sure they allow drums at the Baptist Retirement Village.

I got the privilege of writing Dad’s obituary. I’ve included it here if you’re interested. I also got to do the welcome to start the service. It’s here too. Together there are a lot of words, but behind those words are beautiful memories and many grateful hearts.

William Lee Fuller, David Lee Fuller and Calidonia the cocker spaniel

William Lee Fuller, David Lee Fuller and Calidonia the cocker spaniel

WILLIAM LEE FULLER, was born October 28, 1924, in Dubach, Louisiana, the fourth of the six children of his parents, Chroley Smith Fuller and Bernice Colvin Fuller. He passed in complete peace on June 11, 2019 at 5:02 p.m. At his side, as she has been for more than 73 years, was his wife Mary.

He and Mary Ellen Rowden met at a skating rink, and as he loved to tell people, “They’ve been going around together ever since.” He was a new soldier in the Army stationed in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, where Mary was a beautiful high school cheerleader. Yes, this could be a Hallmark movie—which he would reluctantly watch as long as they could watch the ball game later. Most every morning for these 73 years their day would begin together at the breakfast table where they would read the daily entry from their devotional book and the sports page of the newpaper—not necessarily in that order. Those of us that knew them best knew that somehow in the remainder of each day they would be a blessing to someone.

Waiting for William when he entered the heaven he loved to preach about, into the arms of the Savior he loved to serve, were hundreds, including his mother and father, his siblings George Henry, Effie Louise, James Edward, and Chroley Smith Junior; his sisters-in-law Betty Hillman and Patsy Calico, and brothers-in-law Bob Hillman, Vernon Calico, and David Rowden and sister-in-law Joyce Rowden.

Those who are left here to celebrate his life, share amazing memories, and live in his legacy are his wife, Mary; two sons David Lee Fuller, his wife Arlene; and George Edward (Rusty) Fuller, and his wife Luann; his six cherished grandchildren: Wendy and husband Clark, Ashley and husband Noel, Corey and wife Kara, Misty and husband Matt, Zack and wife Hollie, and Kyle and his wife Brooke; and sixteen great grandchildren who are too important to him to not be named: Stephen, Sam, Tucker, Karlee, Jack, Adde, Gage, Harper, Hope, Porter, Haddie, Nora, Cannon, Everly, Lydia, Malachi, and one more on the way. William is also survived by his sister whom he dearly loved, Betty Ann Brady, his brother-in-law, Bill Rowden and many, many more relatives and friends.

William had a spirit of gentleness and humility. He had a deep sense of gratitude for many things: his family, his calling, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the makers of Community Brand coffee. He was a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and as of the past few months became a raving fan of Good Shepherd Hospice. He was proud of his Louisiana heritage, and proud to be an Okie as well. William and Mary provided a wonderful, nurturing home, first in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and then wherever their call to ministry would take them. These last few years their home has been at the Baptist Retirement Village in Oklahoma City where the staff has become extended family to them.

William was humbled by his calling to serve, whether it was the call to serve in the Army during World War II, first here and finally in Belgium, or his call to serve as a Christian leader. Even the smallest church was important to William and his innovative ministry through day camps in camping and resort areas became a model for that kind of ministy.

He started the East Central Baptist Association youth camp near Lake Tenkiller and in fact, the recreation area there bears the Fuller name as a tribute to William and Mary for their service.

William’s sense of calling was rooted in the spirit of Bible verses like this:

“So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” —Luke 17:10 New International Version (NIV)

William Lee Fuller fought the GOOD fight.

Welcome. Thank you for coming.

Remember that letter, the first one that Paul wrote to the Corinthians? Remember his metaphor for the church—he called it a body and all the folks were the members of the body.

You know how when a part of the body is severed, like Van Gogh’s ear; in the medical field they call that dismembered, but when it’s sewn back on they don’t call it re-membered, but they should.

That’s what we’re doing today. We are re-membering with Dad. It happens every time we tell a story or look through pictures or talk to people who knew him, especially those whose lives where made better for having known him.

When we asked Dad several months ago what kind of service he wanted, he said, “I don’t need a church service. I want people to enjoy remembering good times. And I want you all to encourage your mother.”

So that’s what this is about. In a minute, some of his beloved great-grandchildren will read scripture. That’s the way he would have wanted it. Then his grandchildren whom he loved deeply will help us remember him through their stories and memories.

Then we will look at pictures together and listen to one of mom and dad’s favorite songs and one of mine. Then we will listen to one of Dad’s favorite hymns.

After that my little Brother Rusty will tie all of this together for us.

Then the Army honor guard will help us remember Dad’s service to our country during World War II.

I mentioned earlier that Dad said we didn’t need a sermon at this memorial. After the honor guard presentation, Doug Manning, Dad’s friend and fellow pastor from his days in Tulsa will bring a benediction. Our family met with Doug shortly after Dad’s passing. He asked if there would be a sermon at the service. We said no, and Doug said, “That’s the way it shoud be for your Dad. His life was the sermon.”

Remember that supper, the last one that Jesus had with his little band of brothers? Remember how he took bread and wine, he explained the metaphor to them, then he said do this wine and bread thing often and every time you do—remember me.

So, in that spirit:

  • Whenever you think of our mom, remember our dad.

  • Whenever you enjoy a hot, strong, black cup of coffee, remember him.

  • Whenever you hear the score of the St. Louis Cardinals game, remember their lifelong fan.

  • Whenever your fishing line gets tangled or you lose your golf ball in the woods, remember William.

  • When you think of all the kids, pastors and small churches he ministered to, think of Bro. Bill.

  • Whenever you find yourself wondering if there are any men of humility and integrity left, whose highest calling was to serve…

Oh, and after the benediction, hang around for awhile, because he also said he wanted this to be a time of fellowhip and people enjoying each other’s company.


Dads & Sons & Grandsons

I started out as a son-of-a-dad, you probably did too, unless your a girl, obviously. Then one day I became a dad-of-a-son (his mother might think I’m over simplifying that part), and a few years later: a dad-of-two-sons. Next, I became the dad-of-a-dad, and just a few weeks ago, the dad-of-two-dads, and the Pops-of-a-GRANDSON, and still the son-of-an-amazing-92-year-old DAD.

Even though Father’s Day is still several days away—Happy Father’s Day men.



Since this blog is ostensibly ABOUT POPS, specifically and generally, how can I not type a few thoughts about the whole man/family theme at this time of the year. Someone has to give Father’s Day its due. Let’s face it: Father’s Day isn’t one of the biggies like Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day and Halloween. It’s more in the class of Groundhog Day, Columbus Day, Labor Day, etc., you know, those days that we’re glad we have but we’re not going to go to Hobby Lobby and buy decorations for them 13-months in advance.

So, I’m stepping up as a SpokesMAN (and I mean that in a true politically-incorrect and insenitive masculine form of the word) for Father’s Day 2017. Unfortunately, I won’t be around to celebrate the actual day with my father or my sons/fathers-of-my Grand-Girls and GRANDSON. My Amazing-Missus, Bambi and I will be on an adventure, somewhere in Ohio. (Yes, I know it’s stupid to post stuff on the WWW about being out of town, what with all the criminal types out there. But, hey, we have insurance and we’ve been talking about getting rid of some stuff anyway.)

Speaking of travel, some of the fondest father/son memories are of trips we’ve taken together. A lot of miles and great experiences and time shared together. It is sublime for me. An ideal Father’s Day would include a slow gathering around a table spread with a hearty shrimp-boil or burgers from the grill, and telling stories of trips we’ve made together.

Speaking of time and travel, another Father’s Day treat would be to watch a good movie together. A personal favorite is about the men of a family and their ability to travel back in time a bit. It’s called, “About Time”, and I highly recommend it (unless you’re one of those unfortunate literal thinking guys, who lack imagination and can’t just enjoy a story for the sake of the story).

Or how about a movie about one of my favorite fictional dads, Atticus Finch, in “To Kill A Mockingbird”? Which set me to thinking deeply about what is the criteria I use for choosing a favorite fictional dad? Is there really a criteria and if so, where did it come from?

So I put together a shortlist of my favorites:

Best I can tell, if you want to make my list of favorite fictional dads, or maybe real-life dads for that matter you need to be somewhat flawed but not afraid to embrace your flawedness. Whether its planning an awesome vacation or a celebration like “Festivus”, you take the chance because you want your family to experience life in all its richness. And yeah, sometimes you seem busy, self-absorbed, clueless; still you’re there. And even though you’re probably scared to death most of the time, you try hard to be strong; not the hero, but the one that can be counted on.

Girls & Boys

DON'T YOU DARE call me a “misogynist”, or even “male chauvinist” or a “sexist”. I’ve gone on record here and other places with my sadness and disgust for the distorted view of the role of women held by the most conservative of the church of my youth. I'm a firm believer in Girl Power.

Just try to tell me these girls can't be anything they want to be

Just try to tell me these girls can't be anything they want to be

But is it really too crass to say that boys will be boys sometimes, and maybe even need to be? And why does it have to be that if, when boys are boys, it necessarily follows that girls are less than human? It’s not a zero-sum game is it?

I’m 65. Right or wrong, sometimes I will say what’s on my mind. It’s one of the few perks of old age. Cut me some slack.

So I’m going to say this: guys need to be virile (or feel like we are) and a little primal, occasionally. Humor us.

This brings us obviously to the topic of gift ideas for Father’s Day.

Affirm his dudeness. Get him something to gnaw on like some gourmet jerky, or take him out for a plate of ribs and a refreshing beverage. Speaking of cows and pigs, something leather is always a good choice. My favorite place is Saddleback Leather. The quality is outstanding, oh, and the smell of the leather when dad opens his gift… Their stuff isn’t cheap in any sense of the word, but you don’t have to break the bank to buy him something great. I use everyday and highly recommend the ID Wallet.

If you’re unsure of what to get him, let me offer this advice: don’t pretend you’re going to find something for him at Bed, Bath & Beyond, or Kohl’s, or Hobby Lobby, or Target.

If you’re within a day’s drive of Oklahoma City, there is a store where you can’t go wrong. It’s called Weldon Jack. It is the amazing concept of my good friend and the proprietor Jerrod Smith. This little shop is part motorcycle store, part “candy store” for guys where you’ll find leathergoods, knives, hatchets, hats, helmets, and amazing grooming products for guys. And as if this wasn’t enough, there’s a barber shop where you can even get a straight razor shave.

Jerrod named his shop after his grandfather, Jack Weldon Smith

Jerrod named his shop after his grandfather, Jack Weldon Smith

Father’s Day shopping can’t be any easier than a trip to Weldon Jack at 36th and Western Ave. Or better yet, get Dad a gift card for there and let him go hang out with the boys and get a haircut and a shave. Then take him up 36th street a few blocks and feed him at Iron Star BBQ.

While we’re on the subject of food, here’s another gift idea for you. Even the stereotypical Dad likes to think of himself as Master of the Grill. Go with some grilling accessories or maybe even a few big steaks to throw on his grill. If he’s all set when it comes to goods for the grill, check out another option for outdoor cooking—cast iron dutch oven cooking. This is something I’m trying out right now. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. It’s bound to be good—there’s fire and knives and meat and potatoes involved.

Here's just a taste of what you'll find at Weldon Jack.


A Father's Day Gift That Keeps On Giving

I STILL PREFER TO WRITE; on good old paper with a pen or pencil. I know, I know, I carry in my pocket an amazing little device that is all at once: phone, camera, music-player, calculator, encyclopedia, atlas, GPS, cookbook, calendar, notebook, ocarina, "book", pedometer, radio, dictionary, mailbox, newspaper, gossip source, and on, and on--not to mention a computer more powerful than the room full of computers once used by NASA. And like you, my life as I know it today, depends on that little sucker, so it goes with me everywhere I go.

But still I prefer to write the old fashioned way. Now I feel like the hypocrite that I am, because as is always the case, I'm writing this blog post on my MacBook Pro, using an app called iA Writer®, which, when I'm done and push the appropriate keys, will send it to the "world" via a service called Squarespace®. My faithful subscriber(s) will automatically be notified of the new post by the miracle of something called Mail Chimp®, and Twitter® and that ubiquitous force known as the Facebook®.

But still I prefer to write the old fashioned way. So I carry a pen and a little memo book called Field Notes. For years I've kept a journal. I did quit for awhile to be honest. Some misguided soul broke into my vehicle in our "gated" community and stole a bag containing my notebook computer, which could be replaced, and two journals I had written in almost daily for a year, which could never be replaced. Disillusioned by the violation, I decided journal-keeping wasn't worth it. But it is.

I highly recommend Field Notes books as a great tool to successful journaling. Field Notes is developed from the legacy of the memo books of yore. Something all of us old guys will recognize.

As a sort of challenge to all you "men of a certain age" out there to start a journaling habit, I have an offer you can't refuse.

For all you women and children who tolerate us "men of a certain age", if you are in need of a one of a kind Father's Day gift, here you go. But as they say, "Don't delay; quantities are limited." Seriously. I only made 3 sets.

Field Notes did a special limited series of Field Notes memo books for each state. I have bundled one of each book for the eight states along the Mother Road--Route 66. Plus I've thrown in an extra "Oklahoma" edition, plus a few other treasures like a Field Notes pencil, a Royal Pine car air freshener, and more.

Did I mention I only made 3 sets?!

So the first three people to send me an email at to say, "I want one of these sets and I'll put my check for $48.00 (shipping included), in the mail as soon as you tell me I'm one of the lucky three", will be the winners.