Friday, September 26, 2008

A tribute to a friend from a friend!

This is a picture of Alan Tong and his nephew, Sam. Thanks for the clarification Alan. (I thought it was his son Neal.) Great shirt Alan. Up the ROBINS! :)

Alan is a very good friend of the family. Alan posted a comment on my post from yesterday. It was so nice I just had to post it here as the daily posting.

Thank you Alan for your most kind and gracious words. We love you!


Maxine, I was a young lad when I first met your mum and dad.

They have always been rocks to me.Your dad has had many nicknames over the years. I recall how your dad as a younger man always seemed to have food in his hand, but never put on an ounce. As a result he was known at various times as "Nosher Sims," "The Human Gannet," etc.

There will be many things I remember about your dad. Perhaps the most memorable will be his total and utter loyalty. When you get Johnnie Sims as a friend, he is a friend for life. No-one will ever bad mouth his friends in his presence. Friendship with your dad is total, and never changes. Does that mean he will never tell you when you are wrong?

That's another thing I love about him. He tells things as they are. There are no frills, no pussyfooting around. You know exactly where you stand with him. I love a statement attributed to J Edgar Hoover. Someone once said to J Edgar Hoover, "You really give people hell, don't you?" J Edgar is reported as replying, "No. I tell them the truth, and they think it's hell." That is your dad all over. He is honest to the ninth degree.

I have always admired the relationship between your mum and dad. You can spend five minutes in their presence, and know they are totally devoted. I have been a beneficiary of their example for forty years. I have tried to take that example into my own marriage, and Gina and I have been blessed beyond measure.

Your Dad is a totally dedicated man, and has always been totally reliable in all he does. When John Fountain, Neilson Forsberg and I were full-time missionaries, we got quite a few letters at first from various people in the ward. After a few months we got letters from only girlfriends and our Bishop. Our Bishop was your dad. He must have been so busy with a wife he loves,a young family, work, a busy ward, etc. He still somehow found time every week to write those three young missionaries. (Not a copy from a word processor. These were originals, handwritten by a caring man.) I know that I have never forgotten that, and never will.

When first home from my Mission I received a calling in the Ward, where I was required to attend the Ward Council Meeting each month. A brother in the ward put the blame on me for something that he said I should have done, but had not. I knew that I had not ever been asked to do it, but did not want to add problems on a busy Bishop. I therefore took it on the chin, and just said that I was sorry, and would do it before Sunday. I got a fair few "tuts," and disapproving looks from several people in that meeting. There was one man in that meeting that was listening to the Spirit though. That was your dad, my beloved Bishop. After the meeting, he came to me, and simply said, "You were never asked to do that, were you?" I replied honestly that I had not been asked. He simply put his hand on my shoulder, and said, "Thanks for not bringing a spirit of contention into the meeting." I didn't care who had felt badly about me at that moment. My Bishop, my friend, knew the truth, and he had taken a moment at an important time to let me know. His approbation was all I needed.

I love the study habits that your dad has. He is like a sponge, and just wants to soak every bit of knowledge in. It was after watching your dad show his great knowledge that I wanted to study in a similar way. As a result, I memorised a scripture every day of my Mission. The amazing thing is that I can still remember almost all of them. Without your dad's example, i would never have done that, and my life would not have been enriched in the way that it has.I love how your dad loves the Prophet Joseph Smith. To my mind, he must be one of the foremost scholars of the life of Joseph Smith that I have ever met. It has so influenced his life for the good.

Another great thing about your dad is his total satisfaction with what the Lord has given him. I don't mean anything bad when I say that your dad has never been blessed with riches as far as monetary terms go. He is a very rich man though. His riches lie in his family. He has total satisfaction in his riches. The Lord said, "And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments." (D & C 59:21.)Your dad has always given all credit to the Lord for all good things that have come his way.

You made me smile about the "ten pound you owe me." He got me so often with that one. I love his humour. Do you remember his, "How do you get down off an elephant" joke? It is my favourite ever from your dad. The answer was, "You don't get down off an elephant. You get down off a duck." (Think about it!! Eiderdown.) Even though your dad would joke about owing him money, many have felt his generosity. I believe he would willingly give anyone his last penny. He is a totally generous man.

I guess that you can realise from this that I am proud to have your dad as a friend. He is truly one of two in a million. The other one in a million is your mum. All that your dad is can be made possible only by the total devotion of a very special lady. I know that you realise that you have been greatly blessed to have such parents.
Best regards,
Alan Tong.

1 comment:

Alan Tong said...


It's me with my nephew, Sam Bratt, who is Gina's sister Anna's boy. He is the kind of young man that anyone would be proud to have as a son though.