Father Ted was a husband, an artist, an entrepreneur, a WWII Marine,
an author, an artist, a mentor, a friend, a priest and our dad.
He was a man who WALKED...
HE WALKED through the joys of childhood; surrounded by the security & warmth of a strong nuclear family full of love.
HE WALKED through the sorrows & loneliness of adolescence as his beloved older brother and mother went home, too soon, to the Lord.
HE WALKED through the jungles of a horrific & war torn country...living & experiencing unbelievable horrors, BRAVELY, to protect his beloved country. His comrades & millions of innocent people will never know how very much we owe to his, AND ALL SOLDIERS', bravery, honor, sacrifice, service and leadership!
HE WALKED through the ecstasies of true love with his soulmate for over 50 years!
HE WALKED through the unknowns & ultimate successes of entrepreneurship...because he knew business could prosper under the principles of loyalty, honesty, integrity & respect.
HE WALKED in the exhilaration of the birth of each of his 3 children; making their births and the very existence of his family, first in his life!
AND TO THE VERY LAST DAY OF HIS LIFE, he continued to walk in unconditional love, servanthood and leadership.
"Who Is Santa Claus?"
Musings by Ted Berndt, 1953 Publication of the Mullins Manufacturing Corporation Press
Copy written material. Reprinted by permission of author's family. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
You can't answer that question with a name. In fact, you'll find that it's not easy to describe Santa Claus.
For instance, we all know he's a short, round sort of old gentleman - yet his spirit is so tall it soars out of sight beyond the stars!
He's been around for hundreds of years, his beard and hair are snow white - but he's the delight of children everywhere and he belongs to them.
The North Pole is supposed to be his home. But, he lives in ranch-style homes, in trailers, in "walk-up" flats, in smart apartments, in boarding houses, in pre-fab home. And, he's spent many a night in fox-holes, too - from Guadalcanal to Normandy, to Korea (to Vietnam, to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and beyond).
We say that he visits us at Christmas time. And yet, if we would look around, we'd find that his is with us all year round. Because, you see, Santa Claus is hope and courage and vision and self sacrifice - all rolled up into one delightful personification.
His job is bigger than making children happy at Christmas time. He walks with those who dare to dream the big, bold dream. And he is no stranger to this land of ours! He helped build it!
You wouldn't have recognized him that awful winter at Valley Forge. He was lean and gaunt as he stood in the shadows of the sentry fires. You might have walked right by him years later on a train to Gettysburg. But he was sitting there - next to a man named Lincoln, watching him write the immortal words..."that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom...and that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
And when Johnny Appleseed scattered the seeds of fruit and shade across the land, Santa Claus walked beside him. Who do you think handed tools to young Henry Ford? And when Orville Wright soared into the air at Kitty Hawk, do you think Santa would have missed that? No! Santa was there, smiling and waving.
How can this be?
Because Santa Claus is the spirit of giving. Wherever this desire to give exists (whether it be gifts, physical effort, mental genius, ideas or love) there also Santa Claus appears.
How long will Santa live? As long as his spirit - born in a stable in Bethlehem - lives in the hearts of men, women and children.
As long as we continue to listen for footsteps on the roof-tops, he'll be there! (c)