Sunday, October 10, 2010

Things You Should Know About Brian

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday.  I was unable to talk to him on the phone because he was at the BYU football game.  Fortunately, the Cougars won (finally), so I should have a happy father.  So I will try and call him this evening, but for now I’m going to publish something I wrote about him about a year ago, which I think should be shared with those who know and love him.  My dad is a VP for American Express, and he loves his job and his company.  In fact, we’re all very loyal to American Express (it’s not every company that will put you through private school in England) and we make sure that it’s the first card we use.  After three years in India, he joined a team based in Phoenix.  They asked him to introduce himself, and my dad turned to me.  He asked me to write an article about him, since his family knew him best.  Here’s what I wrote:

Things You Should Know About Brian, From Those Who Know Him Best

Brian is an adrenaline junkie.  You'll find him scuba diving in Bermuda, bungee jumping in New Zealand, and skiing black diamonds in Utah.  He hasn't been sky diving yet, but we wouldn't be surprised to find him strapped to a parachute and an instructor.

Lifelong learning is a fundamental part of Brian's character.  He majored in chemistry, but that was simply because he had more credits in that field than in the many others he studied (including pre-med).  He is an avid reader and can easily devour several books on a business trip.  All of his children have picked up on that trait; any of us can be found with her nose in a book.

The term “jack of all trades” must have been coined by someone who met my father.  He can install a garage door, integrate over a circle, roast a pork shoulder, wire a plug, negotiate a contract and build a rocking horse, all without breaking a sweat. 

Brian is an amazing cook.  He can make just about anything (including the most divine cream of mushroom soup), but he is in his element when he's smoking a slab of meat.  As one of his favorite sayings goes, he didn't claw his way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetables. 

Thinking small is a foreign concept to Brian.  Nothing this guy does is on a small scale.  Every summer he hosts an annual neighborhood barbeque.  This may not be unusual in and of itself, but the invitation is to anyone who can smell the food, and he is taken seriously.  His barbeque averages between three and four hundred people in attendance.

In general, Brian is a “big picture” type of guy.  He loves providing the vision, but dislikes being burdened with details.  The one exception he will make is vacation planning.  Brian has a sincere love for travel, and plans every aspect of a vacation from start to finish.  While he's not above taking his daughters to Disneyland, he truly enjoys wandering off the beaten path.  His favorite part of traveling is getting to know the people.  He always plans on cooking a few meals each trip because he feels that one of the best ways to truly know a culture is by visiting the local grocery store.

Although you might not guess it, Brian has three grandchildren, with one more on the way (updated—he now has four grandkids, with one (not mine!) on the way).  They all adore their Grandpa Barnes.  He has no problem getting down on the floor to play with them, but he is at his best cuddling babies.  When everyone else has failed, Grandpa can rock to sleep even the fussiest infant.

Relationships are the most important thing to Brian.  His family is and always has been his first priority.  He is also excellent at developing lasting friendships.  He has taught all of his children that the things you accomplish in life aren't nearly as important as the people you love and who love you in return.

Nothing frustrates Brian more than boredom.  He is a guy who is always in search of the next adventure.  Since he chose to join your group, know that he saw the potential for greatness.  You can be assured that he won't settle for achieving anything less than extraordinary. 


He’s a pretty great guy, huh? 


With his youngest, Kiera, on her baptism day


Taking us for a limo ride in NYC


The man who never dances dancing with his daughter at Breanne’s wedding


Christmas is his all-time favorite.  He arranges for Santa to come every year, and he will be in big trouble the day he stops.


Why grandpas have such big shoulders


Eating seafood in Scotland with Ashley


Both of Paul’s grandpas


Snowmobiling in Yellowstone


Graduation from BYU with the people who made it all possible


Dad’s nickname was Baloo, so this is a fitting shot


Don’t ask if he was really happy.  He’s come around (right?)


Petting kangaroos in Australia.  He particularly enjoyed golfing with them.  (Seriously, the golf courses would be filled with them in the morning.  They were like grazing deer.)


Swapping hats with a gladiator in Rome


Papa Bear and his moustache


Yes, that adorable baby is me.  I think I wore him out.

Happy birthday, Dad!  We can’t wait to have more adventures with you.  Orlando, here we come!

We love you!


Larson log said...

I love this tribute. You are blessed to have such a fun, supportive Dad.

Thanks for sharing this!

Christopher P. Davey said...

Great piece Chelsey! Your Dad is certainly one of a kind- what a guy!

selway2005 said...

Thanks for sharing this with us...Your dad is the kind of person who makes a lasting impact on whoever he meets...absolutely unforgettable!

Stef said...

Ahh...What a great dad you have! And the Cougars must have known it was his birthday. Why else would they win?!