Remembering My Dad On Father’s Day


When I was a young boy, I used to love taking walks with my dad and listen to the stories he would tell me about important events in his life. Dad would say, “Buddy, now listen carefully, because I want you to learn something from what I’m about to tell you.” I would say, “Yes sir, I’m listening”.

On this occasion, dad told me about the time he and mom were driving through Tennessee in their green Chevy station wagon, on their way to Kansas to visit mom’s sister Trudy, when he started to get hungry.

I wasn’t yet born. It was July, 1961 and my oldest sister Chandra, was only four months old. Chandra was the reason why dad and mom where in Tennessee and now on their way to Kansas; they were traveling to different states where their relatives lived to introduce them to the new member of the Taylor family. Dad spotted a Krystal’s restaurant on the side of the highway, pulled off the road and parked in front.

Before I continue his story, I should let you know that my mom was born in Chattanooga Tennessee and understood the norms and behaviors of the south at that time, but my dad was born in Columbus Ohio and grew up in the north. The treatment of African Americans in the north was no bed of roses in 1961, but it wasn’t the south and there were things you could do in the north that you just couldn’t or shouldn’t do in the south.

Back to dad’s story.

When dad pulled off the road and parked the car in front of the restaurant, mom immediately told dad that he was not supposed to park in the front, but on the side of the restaurant and go to the side window to place his order.

Dad just stared at mom for a moment, got out of the car and walked into the front door of the restaurant. As soon as he entered the door every one froze and all eyes were immediately fixed on him. The chef, just as surprised and startled by his entrance, looked at dad and a conversation between the chef and dad ensued:

Chef: What do you want!
Dad: I want some hamburgers.
Chef: Well, how many do you want!
Dad: (short pause) Thirty.
Chef: You want thirty hamburgers?
Dad: Yes, I want 30 hamburgers.
Chef: Well, stand over there against the wall!

Dad stood against the wall and glanced out the window at mom who was still sitting in the car, holding Chandra, petrified with fear. He looked around the restaurant and every one was still frozen and quiet; they would look at the chef and at dad; they would glance back at the chef and then back at dad again; and this went on in silence for 10 heart pounding, terrifying, interminable minutes.  Finally, when the chef was just about done fixing the burgers, dad looked at the chef and said, “I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want them” and walked out the door.

When he got back to the car, mom looked at him and asked, “What happened?” Dad said to mom, “I told the chef to make me 30 hamburgers and when they were about done I just told him to keep’m.” Mom, then very firmly and emphatically said to dad, “If we don’t leave here right now and very, very fast, there’s a good chance they’re going to string you up on a tree”.

They left the restaurant and made it to Kansas in about half the time that it should have taken to get there and they did not eat that day.

When dad finished his story he said to me, “Now Buddy, what have you learned from my story?” To be quite honest, I didn’t know what to take from his story, so I just looked at him, dumbfounded.

Then my dad with his very tall ominous stature, his big beady eyes and his low firm voice looked down at me very sternly, peered directly into my eyes and said, “Don’t you ever stand for anyone to treat you unequally and anything less than a man.” He paused and I held my breath, trembling in my shoes from the wisdom he just imparted, my eyes afraid to move from his. Then he smiled at me and said, “And always have a good exit strategy.” We both busted out laughing and continued our walk.

I’m remembering my dad, Rev Dr. Hycel B. Taylor Jr., today because he is no longer with me here in physical form though I know he is always with me in spirit.

I’m remembering my dad today especially because of the important things he said to me about being a father. Dad often said to me, “You won’t know the awesome responsibility that falls upon you to be a father until you are one. It is your greatest obligation and at the same time it will be your greatest privilege, honor and joy.”

Dad made sure that in no uncertain terms I understood that as a father it is your solemn responsibility to make sure your kids absolutely have three things: a roof over their heads, clothes on their back and that they never go hungry. And if you should fail in any one of these responsibilities it was not because you didn’t do everything physically, mentally and spiritually within your power to meet that goal. And whether you succeed or sometimes stumble and fall short, never ever let them see you sweat; it is not their burden to bear; it is yours and yours alone.

He also cautioned me this; if you meet these goals, if you supply your children with all of the things they need and many of the things they want and if you never let them see you sweat; they may not fully understand the sacrifices you have to make and the price you may personally have to pay on their behalf and they may not always appreciate what you have done for them.

And when you inevitably fall from your pedestal, and on those special days when they may not remember you, if you have prepared the way for them to stand on their own two feet to survive in this world, it’s all the thanks you need.

I did not know nor fully comprehend all of the challenges, sacrifices, struggles and the price that my dad paid for me and my two sisters to be our father; but we always had a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food in our stomach, all of the things we needed, many of the things we wanted and YES, I did take him for granted.

Dad is my foundation; he is the reason why I am a successful man, a strong man and a loving father. I owe him everything and I did not say thank you to him enough. So, I’m going to say it to him now, even though I can’t see him and even though I can’t put my arms around him and hug him; I know he can hear me still.

Dear dad, in your imperfections you were perfect. You are and will always be my father and I will always be your, proud, very grateful and loving son.

Hycel B. Taylor III


My Cup Runneth Over

DSC_0420_CroppedThank you for the perfect 70-degree weather this morning, the heavy fog and the mist that bathed me each time I climbed up the Great Blue Hill and then cooled me off each time on my way back down.

Thank you for the singleness of mind that kept me focused, calm, alert and at peace blocking out every stray thought and emotion except for the now moment and the current ground beneath me up the long ascents.

Thank you for the breaks that slowed my steep descents in spite of the heavy moisture that turned to droplets and drenched my rims yet cooled them so that they did not overheat due of my constant breaking.

Thank you for my tires that did not slip, slide or tear under the tremendous pressure and conditions I inflicted on them.

Thank you for the four water bottles that did not leak and contained the fluids that kept me hydrated.

Thank you for the oatmeal I ate just before my ride and the food bars the kept me carb’d and energized during the climbs.

Thank you for the sun that briefly peaked through the heavy clouds when I reached the top of ascent number nine, smiling with its warmth and cheering me on for my final ascent to come.

Thank you for all of the angles I met along my trek.

The jogger who, on his own journey, passed me each time I ascended and descended, politely nodding to each other at first and later sharing with each other passing words of encouragement as we both drew nearer to our personal goals.

The young couple that said, “God bless you!” to me when I reached ascent number eight.

The older couple that paused and joyfully applauded me as I attacked the last 500 feet of ascent number ten.

And the lovely lady I met on my final descent who when asked me why I climbed so many times, held her hands to her cheeks and her fingers to her eyes to fight back tears as I described to her what it was like being in the now moment; we shared a moment with each other and then I bid her a wonderful day.

Seven months ago I was lying on the living room floor of my apartment with a torn right patella tendon, writhing in pain while in the back of my mind imagining this day and the now moments that are now in my past and are apart of my history of wonderful experiences.

Today, I was as agile as a Falcon in the wind, as strong as a bear running in the forest, as peaceful as a monk in meditation and one with the hill.

My cup runneth over.

Hycel B. Taylor III



Da da da… Da da da…

ImageIt’s been almost three months since I tore the right patella tendon from my kneecap and had it operated on four days later.  Well today, some really cool X rays of my knee were taken and it’s all good.  The cable in my knee was put there to help insure that my right patella tendon does not tear during the healing process.  The cable will be removed in about two weeks; then my real physical training starts in earnest (I’m going to play the Rocky theme song every morning).

ImageI want to say to everyone who called my cell, sent me an SMS message, dropped me an email and wished me well on FB a huge, THANK YOU!  Your positive energy and blessings greatly helped my recovery and keeps me ever mindful of just how grateful I am for my health, my good looks and everything that I have.

ImageHey, if you like extreme fitness like I do, then sooner or later you may end up on crutches; OK, maybe not as major an injury as I have; but I’m just saying.  Besides at the time I tore my patella, my energy wasn’t good and I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction that states the energy you give out is the energy you get back.  Sometimes a good knock to the ground is what one needs to become present and gain perspective.

Not once, since I’ve had my injury, have I been depressed about it.  On the contrary, when I was lying there on the living room floor of my apartment all alone and writhing in pain, I actually said to myself, “OK Hycel, you’ve got no place to go but up”.

So, on with the challenge, on with my rehabilitation, on with my new way of positive thinking, on with my being grateful for everyone and everything that I have; on with my new life.

Da da da… Da da da…

Hycel B. Taylor III

The Zen In Climbing

DSCN1728I recently read an email where a colleague described the repeat climbing of the Blue Hill service ramp as a “bore-fest”. I chuckled when reading it; I suppose that can be true depending on how you look at it.  When I first started climbing the service ramp, I thought that way about it too. But I have since changed the way I think about it and experience it. Now it’s kind of zen like; I, the bike and the hill become one. Here’s what I’ve learned and now experience each and every time I make my trek up and down the hill.

If you ride hard and fast to defeat the hill; the hill will always defeat you.

Set your pace and do not veer from it; sit up strait, loosen your arms and your grip on your handle bars.

Feel the strength, heat, burn, motion and power within the muscles of your thighs, knees, calves, ankles, feet and toes as you push and pull through your peddles in each degree of every 360 degree rotation.

Breath deeply, slowly and mindfully; sense your heart beating, the oxygen and flow of energy pulsating throughout your body with every inhalation.

Fully take in and experience your surroundings; the coarseness, smoothness, bumpiness, irregularities and constant changes of the ground beneath your tires; the gentle breeze flowing down the hill weaving in and through the trees; the homily of the trees as they bend and twist from the breeze and sing ever so softly from the fluttering of their leaves;  the cool, crispness and subtle changes in temperature as the breeze reaches you caressing each blade of hair on your legs and arms dissipating the sweat seeping from the band of your helmet rolling down your temple to your cheek.  Yes!  Take it all in!  All of It!

Let your thoughts be not about reaching the top of the hill but only about the current moment, the space that you are currently inhabiting in the now moment you are in; there you will find peace and pure bliss.

When you get to the top of the hill, take a moment;  take a few deep breaths and down a few gulps of water; then take a bite out of your energy bar.  Now take a moment to appreciate what you have just done; take a few more deep breaths and then begin your decent.

Heighten your senses as you again take in every now moment.  Even though you are rapidly descending down the hill at a much faster pace than your climb, if you concentrate only on the present moment, time will slow down and you will again experience peace and pure bliss.

When you reach the bottom, again, pause for a moment, take a few deep breaths and appreciate what you have done; then begin the climb again.  You may eventually find that the math of climbing the hill is simple; Peace + Bliss = Joy.

By Hycel B. Taylor III

Sometimes The Best Birthday Present Is The One You Don’t See Coming

A couple of days ago I received a letter in the mail that made my day so much that I’m still smiling about it today, on this my 48th birthday.

Here’s an excerpt of the letter.

****************************************************************************** Almost ten years ago, I met you during a summer job sweeping streets in the Ashmont area. I remember on that hot summer day, you stopped and even though you didn’t know me, you did want to know what I wanted to do with my life. When I told you about my school closing down and about how I would have to pay to get in school, you wrote me a check.  But it wasn’t for the amount I told you I needed to get enrolled; you covered the full cost of the school.  Through your unselfish act of kindness and the time you took to get to know me and believe in me, from that I’ve accomplished so much.

I graduated high school, attended Northeastern University for Emergency Medicine (EMT) and later returned to the Institute for Emergency Medicine to complete three years of school to become a Paramedic.  I’ve worked for the Department of Homeland Security, reserve Police Officer in Somerville Mass and five years ago now completed the Boston EMS academy.  Recently I’ve started taking flying classes at Horizons Aviations in Norwood, MA.  I’ve been married for the past three years with and have a 10-month-old baby girl.

If it wasn’t for you putting your trust in me, I can’t say I would be where I am today.  I struggle to find the words to thank you for what you did.  Your generosity has led me to “pay it forward” by volunteering at the Special Olympics as medical staffing for the past 8 years.

I haven’t forgotten you or your family and I hope you haven’t forgotten me.

“Our finger prints never leave the lives we’ve touched”

Best regards,
Kenneth Edwards

On my birthday, I don’t look for presents; I look for someone I can give a gift to. I don’t know what the gift will be and I don’t know to whom I’m going to give it.  I let the universe work that out.  And that’s the fun part; just being and letting it happen.  The gift is not always money.  Sometimes it’s simply a warm smile to a sad face, a hug to a lonely person or just taking time to listen while someone is getting something off his or her chest.

Every Sunday, just before the offering, Dad would always say, “When you give, give generously, not begrudgingly nor out of necessity; for God loves cheerful givers”.

Amen to that, Old Man.  Amen to that.

Photo By: Candace Bolinger

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

I watched the sun rise this morning and I was wondering if you were standing next to me watching it too?

Or were you viewing the earth from a distance, watching it slowly twirl like a tiny Christmas ornament nestled within the fabric of space, falling gently around the sun?

Did you dance on the moon, skip gleefully across the surface of Mars, peer beneath the clouds above Jupiter and bathe playfully in the rings of Saturn?

Did you hear a cacophony of galactic noises and sounds resonating like a sweet and soft melodious jingle?

Did you sing a new song that roared like the thunder of a thousand colliding asteroids?

Did you become huge, vast and so immeasurable you could hold the planets of our solar system in the palm of your hand?

Did you clap your hands and, through its immense energy, give birth to a brand new sun?

And with a swath of your fingers, did you gently caress the stars of the Milky Way?

Did you take wing and screech across the heavens and the universe ten thousand times faster than a photon, weaving in, out and through an infinite array of galaxies, engulfing and consuming them all in an instant with the fullness and completeness of your being?

Did you transcend space and time?  Can you contemplate all things in a single thought? Is there life on other planets?  Will we meet again?

This morning I watched the sun rise, all the while trying to fathom a world without you in it.  I was wondering if you were standing next to me watching it too?


Hycel B. Taylor III

So You Want To Become A Vegan

Dear Amy,

I’ve received a letter from you stating that your husband, Mike, has suffered a mild stroke.  So you, your husband, son and mom have decided that you want to transition to a vegan diet and you want to know how to get started.


There can be no sustainable diet change unless you have the knowledge to go with it.  Thus, without the knowledge of what it truly means to be vegan and the advantages therein, it will not be inculcated within your being. At most you will enthusiastically sustain a vegan diet for approximately two weeks. Then you will slowly start to wane until you make enough excuses to quit your vegan diet all together.


You must have the right motivation for moving to a vegan diet.  Do not move to a vegan diet because you no longer want to be sick or because you think you’re too fat or because you don’t think you look pretty, etc.  Those motivations for moving to a vegan diet are negative ones.

Move to a vegan diet because you want to be well.  Keep your reasoning and motivations positive.  It will make the transition from a carnivorous diet to a vegan diet much easier.  Not being sick, losing weight, looking awesome and feeling better than you ever have before in your life are merely the side affects of a good vegan diet.



To get Mike back to good health quickly, you should follow the recipes located in the book I recommended that Mike read, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

It is important that you really read these books now as you’re moving into this diet.  Please do not underestimate my suggestion.  The knowledge you’ll gain from reading these books will have a huge impact on your ability to transition smoothly and steadfastly into your new life as vegans.

Each day, as a family, you should share with each other what you have learned from your reading.  Once each of you completes the book I have suggested for you to read, read the other two as well.

Best Regards,


Congratulations and welcome to the wonderful world of eating vegan.  Great things are about to happen.