254. Soldier of Fortune

You may believe there are only eight Beatitudes.  In my opinion, there are really nine of them.  Besides the others like “Bless are the poor in spirit”, etc. the ninth one is “Bless are they who help out Octo-woman on her Going-on-80 blobs.” 

Today is an important day in our family, but I get the day off from writing about it because of the saintly intercession of my niece Denice Fortune.  The following is her contribution about her son, Tommy.  Just as she intended – after you read it, you will feel like you know him and wish you could spend some quality time with him in person.  So here goes.

“Thomas Raymond Fortune celebrates his Golden Birthday this year. He turns 18 on the 18th of May 2011. 

Like his namesake (Denise’s dad, Tom Fitzpatrick), Tom is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I have no knowledge of anyone that he doesn’t like or anyone that doesn’t like him. He’s a sweet-spirited, compassionate son, brother and friend. In short, he’s been the perfect child from the beginning to the present. 

From the moment he was born, he brought joy to our lives. I can’t remember a time that he wasn’t laughing about something. I also can’t remember a time he wasn’t running. Tom went from crawling to running at high speed. He kept us on our toes constantly.

At the tender age of 2, Tom taught himself how to read. One day he and I were driving down the road and he started randomly reading signs to me, and not just basic signs, either, but whole advertisements. By 4 he was reading chapter books to his peers in pre-school while the teacher watched in amazement. Today, in his spare time, you can see him reading textbooks that he downloads to his Kindle.

Tom is and always has been an animal lover, more specifically a dog lover. He’s the co-owner of no less than 7 dogs. One cocker spaniel and six Japanese Chin. We estimate that he’s eaten at least a bag of dog hair in his life-time, which we’ve heard not only meets but exceeds the FDA daily nutritional value for his age group. Nothing but the best for the Fortune Four! Look all you want, but you’re not going to find THAT at your local Costco. 

Tom was exposed to sports fishing at a young age. His paternal grandparents own a cabin in Minnesota about 3 hours south of the Canadian border. More than once, Tom has literally walked across the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park. At least once a year Craig and Tom (and sometimes Josie) go to the cabin for a week to wake to the sound of the loons on the lake, look for eagle’s nests, and most importantly see who can catch the biggest northern on Crow Wing 4 in Nevis, MN. 

Speaking of the cabin, here’s how much animals love Tom (except the fish!). At around sunrise, the neighbor’s golden retriever can be found at the Fortune cabin barking and scratching at the front door until Tom is up and ready to go fishing in the morning. At first, his grandparents, (not being dog people) were kind of in awe of this magical power he has over the animal world, since this particular pooch has never done this for any of the other grandchildren. They’ve since grown accustomed to it, however, and have even gone so far as to help the poor hound and will give Tom a gentle, “Tom, your friend is here, he wants to know if you want to come out and play.” There’s a saying, “My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.” Tom already is. 

Tom was a home school kid up to and including his freshman year of high school. Each year, we asked him if he wanted to go to public school, but he always insisted on home schooling. After freshman year came to a close, we were in the midst of moving from Illinois to Wisconsin, so he decided that it was time for a change.

He’s now a junior at the local public high school. He’s been on both the track and cross country teams, and was elected to be the Captain of the Cross Country team this year. He led every run (5K) this past season, and PR’d (personal record) at 18:35 for the season. He received the honor of being his team’s MVP ’10. All of that running in his early years paid off for him. He has since beaten that time in his off season running to 17:53. 

This winter Tom got a job as a personal care worker for Society’s Assets. He helps special needs people with their at-home care. We’re also looking forward to having him help out with one of our new family businesses working alongside his Dad and myself as a job coach during his summer break.

Tom has decided that he would like to go to school to become a doctor. With his history as a dog enthusiast, we assumed that he would choose to be a veterinarian. Well, we were half right, it IS because of his history, but not with animals, but rather with CRAZY PARENTS. He wants to be a psychologist. 

We know one thing since he’s become a teenager, we’ve lived in bliss knowing that we’ll save hundreds of thousands of dollars in college education for him, because he ALREADY KNOWS EVERYTHING!

Happy Golden Birthday, Tom-boy! We love you!”

Tommy, now I can see why your mother insisted on writing this blob herself.  She wanted to skip the parts about the smelly socks, the unmade bed, the overdue library books, the up-status of the toilet seat, and how you always put the toilet paper roll on upside down.  We better just keep all that to ourselves.  Never let it be said that Octo-woman doesn’t know how to keep secrets.

Have a happy birthday, Golden Boy.  You’re worth your weight in it.

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One Response to 254. Soldier of Fortune

  1. Chris says:

    Happy Birthday, Tommy! While watching the slideshow I had to laugh about the picture with your nose pressed to the screen. It reminded me of the time you were running to Uncle Tim’s deck and didn’t realize the screen door was closed. It knocked you flat but you jumped right up and kept going. Later we noticed there was a perfect impression of your face in the screen! It reminded us of you for months afterwards. Love to you!

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