Looking Homeward…Reports from the Homefront Line
Preface Excerpt

Three weeks before my father’s death, he told me he wanted me to continue his newspaper column.

“Dad! I don’t want to talk about that!” I protested. “You have many more columns to write.”

But in the following days, when the realities of his cancer’s return set in, he again asked me to write for him.

It was a tall order.

But I am accustomed to tall orders from Dad. Fact is, he’s a tall-order kind of guy. Unafraid of new ideas and bold thinking, he lived his life with a “why-not” attitude and a steadfast philosophy of “to whom much is given, much is required.” He applied it liberally to himself, and in a loving but challenging way to others, including his children.

And in his classic connect-the-dots mode of operation, he picked up the phone from his hospital bed and made the phone call to Jim Casto, the then associate editor of Huntington’s Herald-Dispatch.

“I’d like you to give Becky a shot at this Jim,” he said with as much energy as he could muster. He nodded his head, raised those famous eyebrows and quietly hung up the phone while shooting me that “done” look.

“You’re set, B-B,” he whispered. “Go get ‘em.”

And I’ve given it my best. Through Jim Castos’ generosity and now editor Ed Dawson, I’ve continued Dad’s column once a month for the last three years. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue Dad’s legacy, his art and craft of telling a good story that is both timely and timeless.

After Mom’s death in 2005, Rachel and I had the unbelievable task of sorting through 25 years of memories in our parents Huntington home. We rediscovered this book and decided to republish it to answer requests for his published columns and to commemorate Cabell Huntington Hospital’s “Smith Chapel” celebration. Dad was instrumental in creating the pastoral care program at Cabell Huntington, an accomplishment that touched and continues to touch and help patients and families when they hurt the most.

Although this book is not the collection of published columns that so many have requested, it contains the unvarnished stories that provided the roots of many of his writings. A book of columns will be coming soon so keep informed at this website.

But for now, stacks of “Looking Homeward” drafts still top my desk, Dad’s gentle reminder written on a yellow post-it: “In Process.”

And aren’t we all?

Ever onward…
Rebecca Faye Smith Galli