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Two of the finest young guys any man could be blessed with just celebrated a birthday with their Dad. Went and saw “Flight” with Timmy and then the boys took the old man to dinner @ Lily’s in Royal Oak.

“Flight” (starring Denzel Washington) is one of those movies that comes along once every half decade or so.

You were right Ab. Aside from excellent cinematography and a blazing soundtrack, this was THE movie to share with my oldest son on the best birthday I can remember in a very long time. Without giving too much away, the movie was awash in applicable metaphors that nailed this soul in a movie seat. Dads will get this movie. Less than perfect Dads will get it more. Denzel gives an academy award performance as a divorced, alcoholic father estranged from his son, friends and life in general.

Life under the influence dampens clarity &  luminescence. It makes love impossible.

A song by the Lumineers is Josh’s contribution to this inverted flight of a blog.

Being Irish and having been all of the above–it doesn’t take much to get this writer crying…but my sweet Jesus, I’ve never wept so hard in a movie. It’s really that good. My PCAP buds should go see this flic, if for nothing other than the final scenes. Dads might consider sharing this with their sons…though as that was just typed, three guys came to mind who have lost a boy. Go see it anyway. Trust me on this one. “Flight” is not some formulaic Hollywood product designed to be a tear-jerker. No…this one achieved something very special.

The Hurls won’t ruin it for you. Suffice to say, a thread of addiction & recovery weaves its way throughout the movie,  but not in any kind of clichéd manner.

As the credits rolled and the tears flowed, Timmy & I sat in stunned silence. Nothing really needed to be said. Of course…hahaha…that only lasted until getting to the parking lot. Pulling out onto 11 Mile, Timmer had to ask;

“So Daddy…what did you think about that flic?”

With a heart just slammed open by a reality shot I replied; “That movie was the absolute shit son. I’ve never witnessed Hollywood capture the real deal as it relates to alcoholism, addiction, recovery and redemption. That movie blew me away. Tim simply replied; “Good. Me too. I knew you’d dig it”  That’s my boy. 

We discussed things further and came back to my apartment. “Timmy…I’ve got to start a blog about this moving movie experience!“..I exclaimed. He sorta’ laughed and said; “Go for it Dad…how do you do it?” He’s a real good writer in his own right and can write circles around Pops. He sat and watched as the basic draft of this took form.  He remarked at how fast his dad worked. What a great kid. I just laughed and said when the spirit hits, I’ve got to get it down because of being so ADD. As we were doing this, Josh walked in with a big ol’ hug & greeting.

That called for a precious Kodak Moment.

November 9th, 2012

This is one epic snapshot of joy captured forever.

Da’ Boyz At Restaurant

Da’ Boyz

The boys were all about being with Dad today. Frankly, it was a bit of a shock. Really. They were hurt as the result of the inverted flight of my life for literally…years at a time. It’s like we’re getting to know each other all over again. The healing for them has been slow. It could not be forced. Sometimes we break stuff that never gets fixed again. I put those two guys through more shit than any kid should ever have to go through. To have a Dad go MIA over a liquid or pile of powder is a unfathomable and horrible experience for any child…at any age. My God…that one is still a bitter thing to own. But one must own it to stone it. Every junkie is not like a setting sun.

Something they both experienced was a Dad hell-bent on a death wish. No child should ever have to go through that kind of crap. Yeah, we package it up with trite euphemisms like “Dysfunction” and labels like “Disease”. At the end of their day, it’s just plain madness.  Pure anarchy and pain. Evil personified. In and out of recovery for decades, they never knew when The Call would come. One particularly gruesome safari where I had dropped off the map and into the abyss of a ghetto dope pad in Detroit, they once called around to hospitals and morgues to see if their dad was there. That’s pretty sick. It’s nothing less than soul murder for a child to go through. At the very least, it wounds and leaves scars.

That’s on a good day.

Flash forward to November 9th, 2012

This is what Timmer proudly laid out for my birthday.

unplugged birthday presents

Posting this just elicited another torrent of tears…the good kind. The key-chain is engraved with the Serenity Prayer. The cologne is named “Unplugged”. The two-post guitar tie pin is engraved with; “Ask me about Unplugged” What a kid. Hope you hear my heart on this tip. This isn’t bragging about “Look what my sons gave me” or any shallow crap like that. This is a testimony about what the Mighty God has done in our hearts and lives.

This miracle of restoration is nothing less than the Red Sea parting.

Malachi 4:6

And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Luke 1:17

He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Can I get an Amen?

Dig…think about the heart and spirit behind those gifts. Here’s my take on it.

The Unplugged Cologne is gratitude expressed for a Dad that doesn’t smell like a filthy drunk or grimy junkie anymore. Hallelujah.

The Unplugged Tie Pin gets a little deeper. Both Tim & Josh have been to Vineyard services to watch this Dad play his acoustic guitar. They were both at the homecoming celebration service for Bill Keaton. Being intact at the time of their conception & birth, I use to press the bowl of my Ovation Guitar up against Kelly and play gospel songs to them while still in the womb. The strum of the strings would resonate through Kels Amniotic Fluid and provide spiritual nutrients for their ravenous little Hurley Souls. I’d get a real kick out of it when they’d start kicking out some jams in the womb and dancing like David danced.  To this day, their souls (at least unconsciously) resonates with gospel & worship. They have excellent taste in music. Some of their other choices are not necessarily my cup of Constant Comment Tea, but I can’t deny the talent thereof. I guess in that department, I wasn’t a failure as their Dad.  They dug the hell out of the blazin’ version of “Awake O’ Israel” that the AC Pick-Up Band laid down at Bill’s service.  Sooooo…I think the Guitar Tie Pin is an affirmation and reflection of their heritage and present reality.


The Serenity Prayer Key Tag pretty much speaks for itself. It’s all about the faith, hope, love & mercy that has bound us together before, during and after the deluge. There’s no need for any self-delusion. Had I discharged my parental duties service on a more consistent basis, they definitely would not have suffered so much.

For a long time, it seemed as though we’d never get out of these blues alive.

Now, we’re feelin’ pretty alright.

In closing, I’m cognizant there are parents reading this who have lost a child to death, addiction, mental illness and other horrors. Be of good cheer. If God can fix and draw a straight line with the crooked stick of this life and a wretch like moi’…He can do it for you. Our job is to never give up. Never lose faith. Never quit. Being alright trumps feeling alright 24/7.

Again, and without any grandiose or superfluous hyperbole’ I can share with a straight monitor that this birthday has been the best one in years…but not for the usual reasons.

The day didn’t really start out  that way. After Bill’s service on November 3rd, we lost another AC brother on November 5th. The service for Rick Gates was held today. There was no way to miss his homecoming as Rick was the first cat to provide a shot to play right guitar in a righteous Band Of Brothers (and Betty) after getting out of prison. While living in a 3/4 house in Pontiac and crawling from the wreckage, Rick let me sit in with the band that could play circles around me. They were cool and provided a means by which to get my chops back. Rick loved the Lord and the Lord loved Rick.

He was a gentle soul who died suddenly on Monday at the age of 53.

This blog is respectfully dedicated to his son Beau.

Why this writer was blessed to spend his 58th birthday with these two guys is beyond my capacity to comprehend.

Timmy, Joshua & Moses at Manistee Cabin

This is probably a favorite all-time shot of two young sons that could melt the hardest of hearts. They always liked to emulate dad by wearing their hats backwards. Pure Gangsta’ before it ever became fashionable.

I’m so proud and grateful for the fine men you’ve grown into. You’re the best. That you no longer have to sit and ask; “Who are you?” is a real blessing…in the truest sense of the word.

Love, Dad

P.S. Have a great day at work tomorrow Timmy. Josh…be sure to call me after you act on your important decision to make the Big Move…that I promised not to blog about. Oops…Hahaha…Dad wants to hear all about it.

P.P.S Yeah, there’s a lot of music in this one…again. But the vast majority represents songs from the soundtrack of “Flight”.


DATELINE: 11-10-2012/Royal Oak, Pure Michigan

The thing I wasn’t supposed to blog about last night…but sorta’ did anyway, just came to fruition!

Jenny’s Engagement Ring

Kelly and I are pleased to announce that our youngest son, Joshua Thomas Hurley…..

just got engaged. Jenny is a great gal. 

Josh & Jenny

Like his Dad…Joshua is definitely marrying up.



  1. Anita says:

    I am smiling! I just love reading this blog you wrote Tim! Your boys are the best, and you’re a very fortunate father to have their love … starting over … healing is a long road traveled, and well worth its time. Savor every moment, and let it be etched in your mind, heart, and soul. Trust you are exactly where you are meant to be.

    Happy Birthday Tim!

    What an awesome gift your boys gave you on your birthday … and the deep down meaning evoked from you … why that’s precious!

    Love & Hugs,

  2. Babs Grieshaber says:

    Love in every word…love in every action!! Seems to be a pattern here shown by father and sons…the phrase about “not falling far from the tree.” Your heart and soul is shown through the love your boys have for you. Their kindness, compassion and devotion to you radiants from the man that you are. That is a sweetness that can’t be compromised! How precious and beautiful that is!!

    And that picture of them with their hats turned around just melts my heart!! ,<3 I am sure you had a beautiful birthday; of this I am sure.

    Many more, Tim…many more!!!

  3. Al says:

    Once again, you’ve brought smiles and tears. You’ve also hit a few nerve endings in my relationship with my son.

    You and your sons do something that I envy; have meaningful conversations, exchange of ideas and a willingness to have a mutual understanding of love.
    My son and I live pretty much under the same roof and there have been times that we haven’t even said as much as hello for days/weeks. There is a door that separates our side of the house from their side, it seems, at times, that it is as ominous as the Berlin Wall.

    You are fortunate, Tim. Your sons didn’t follow in their father’s footsteps. Mine did. I anxiously await the day that he takes his first step out of denial, until then, I have to do a lot of praying to the Lord for his healing. I also have to hope that he sees what my renewed faith in Christ has done in my life. It may take a long time, but I’m now a patient person, I can wait as long as it takes.

    Thanks for another great piece. Thanks for a glimmer of hope.

  4. Tammy says:

    Tim, once again you have captured a lot of emotion in this blog. I think you have come such a long way. As Bill would ask, “What are you going to do different this time to make it work?” I see that you are indeed working on that one and seem to be heading toward the good side.

  5. Tim Hurley says:

    Reblogged this on hurlco and commented:

    Just scroll to end of blog!

  6. Anita says:

    😀 WhooHoo! Congrats to Joshua and Jenny on your engagement! What a sweet photo of the two of you … lovely … and Josh, you did GOOD … that ring is something Jenny will be proud of for years to come … every time she gazes at her ring, she will be forever reminded of your love for her.

    Okay … now your Aunt is teary up … oh the vapors … vapors.
    I love you Joshua, love you Jenny!
    Your cousins are very happy for you also! WhooHoo! Celebrate!!!

  7. Anita says:

    😀 Congratulations are in order for the parents of Josh … sooo
    here’s to Kelly, and Tim …
    Congratulations on your son’s engagement to
    a beautiful and sweet gal, Jenny!

    Time for celebrations! 😀

    Take well care,
    Love & Hugs,

  8. Michele says:

    Hey There Tim! I saw that movie & loved it as well! I can’t wait for the wedding! And I’m so happy you are on the “right” road all the way around! I’ve known you a long time and although you may not have known it, I’ve kept tabs on you! 🙂


  9. Tim Hurley says:

    Gotcha’. Appreciate the surveillance & feedback.
    Josh & Jenny are hitting Boston for Thanksgiving!

  10. Tim, you are a role model and a credit to Synanon. You just doubled my respect for an organization that I already revered.

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