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JOSHUA “BE-BOP” THOMAS

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Flying down I-75 on November 29, 1986, the conversation with Kelly went something like this;

“OK…I got this! You cool?”

Tim…you don’t have to speed

“Whaddya’ mean I don’t have to speed?  We’re not going to 7-11 for a Slurpee!”

I know honey…it’s OK.  Ah’ wait. No it’s not…go ahead. You better hurry!

With the pedal to the floor we made the hospital in Detroit in record time

Wailing into the entrance with tires smoking, I slammed on the brakes…hopped out…flew past the guard…grabbed a wheelchair and bolted back out to Kelly before the rent-a-cop even knew what was happening.  Blowing past his wide girth in the hallway, he tried to tell me to wait and sign in.

“THERE’S NO TIME FOR ANY OF THAT MY MAN! WE’RE HAVING A BABY!”

“Now Tim…calm down” Kelly purred…only to have her tone change dramatically as the next contraction hit. No time for calm. We were on a mission from God!

“LET’S GO!”

While Kelly was in labor for almost two days with older brother Timmy, Josh was having none of that. In the time it took for Kels to get prepped and this Dad getting changed into scrubs…Joshua was ready to rock out within 55 minutes of arriving at the hospital. Barely making it into the delivery room in time, Josh emerged ass up…balls down…hung like a little race horse and cryin’ like a banshee.

 O’ yes my friends…Pure Michigan. Pure Hurley. That’s MY Boy.

He scored 10 on his initial Apgar Test

No he didn’t.

I just lied.

I don’t really remember the score. All I know is he had 10 fingers, 10 toes, had great color and was handsome as all get out. You know how most babies look like little wet shmooshed gerbils when they’re born? Not my boys. Those guys popped out lookin’ like Gerber Models and are still turning heads to this day.

That’s no brag…just fact. Given the copious amounts of hallucinogens this dad consumed during days of his misspent youth….it’s a miracle they didn’t come out with gills,  fish heads, webbed feet and two dicks. Really

To God be the glory.

So yeah…there he was. Did we ever shed tears of joy that day.

One of the first words Josh came up with was “Bop”. Eating food…Bop! Filling his diaper (gosh could that kid dump a load)…Bop! Hitting his brother Timmy…Bop! I mean…it was like he had this one word vocabulary for a couple of months. It was great. I’ve been trying to meet a woman like that ever since. Jes’ kiddin’. We’d have whole conversations where I’d look at him in his crib and go “BE!” Josh would look up and smile while replying with “BOP!”

So,  that’s how Josh’s first nickname became BE-BOP

What a joy it was raising you Josh. You really kept us on our toes.

After graduating High School–and like a majority of young folks away at college for the first time, Joshua found his new setting to be very liberating. At one point, Kelly and I had some parental concerns about the parameters of said liberation. We paid him a surprise visit one night at 10:00PM at his college dorm.

Josh greeted us in the hallway and asked…hahaha

“To what do I owe this surprise visit?”

O’…no biggie son…we just want to take you out for dinner.

“Like now?”

Yeah…let’s roll Buddy.

As we settled in the car, Josh broke the awkward silence with his patented wit & humor.

“So are you guys gonna’ tell me what this is all about? Or is it classified information?”

He was all of 17 years old when coming up with that one. O’ God…we laughed so hard, then proceeded to have a REALLY great meal together.

This song in his birthday video is significant between us as father & son. He played it for me on the way back from Western Michigan. Driving from Kalamazoo to Holland, Josh played U2’s “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” …turned to me and sang this lyric; You’re the reason why the opera is in me.  At a very young age, Joshua learned an important truth, many guys never come to understand. Knowing when to play, hold & fold is an acquired art.

That you chose to drop out of college and come live with me in Holland for six months or so took me by surprise. Our time together there remains a very rich period of time between us. Now engaged and pursuing your degree with a great job…I’m very proud, happy and grateful for you Be Bop.

From your birth to that pivotal moment in Kzoo, until today….your life has been a real blessing to many Joshua.

Your Mom & I  still have your back. However, over the years we’ve learned with the wisdom that living brings…that you were never really ours. You were just on loan from God for us to parent for a season. We were far from perfect in that mission…but know this Josh, we love you with every fiber in our being. Whatever you choose in life is yours to choose. Honestly, for all our missteps, we never charted out a course for you. We only wish for this–that you fulfill whatever God’s plan is for your life and live it with a modicum of joy. Have the best year of your life.

At the end of the day, it’s still all about grace.

I love you son.

Dad

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3 Comments

  1. kelly says:

    Well said Tim Hurley…not quite like I remember it though. However, the apgar score was a 10 at 1 min & 5 minutes…By the Grace of God we have the Most Wonderful Sons…to God Be the Glory!!!
    How fortunate we are to have them as they make our hearts & lives full of love & blessings. I will be eternally grateful to you (T.H.) for helping create these fine young men. Being their Mom is the best gift in my Life!
    Happy Birthday Joshua!!! You’ll always be my Baby Boy!!!
    I Love You to the Moon & Back….
    Mom

  2. Anita says:

    Awesome!
    Always great (and greatly different from the mother’s version) to hear the ‘father’s version’ of the offspring’s world entry!

    Hugs to all,
    AND…
    “Happy Birthday Joshua” … blessings to you of health, and prosperity!
    Lots of Love and Lots of Hugs,
    Your Aunt, Kelly’s Sis, and your Dad’s friend, Anita

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