I remember when Mr. Franklin died four years ago this weekend, everyone kept saying that he would be mad at me for crying and would tell us all to toughen up. And every single time I heard those words, I just shook my head and suppressed my desire to tell them that I thought they were completely wrong.
Because that wasn't the Mr. Franklin I knew.
Sure, that was the Mr. Franklin that most people saw. The one who beat the steering wheel and wouldn't let us eat lunch after a certain class of keep/cull pigs was placed a certain way at a certain judging contest (which was still won, for the record). It was the Mr. Franklin who would grab a player off the bench and literally throw them to the scorer's table when someone on the court missed a lay up. It was the Mr. Franklin who could hardly speak anymore but managed to get mad at me the week before he died because I wasn't texting sheep show results fast enough for his liking (we were on a lunch break and nothing was happening!) The one who would yell at Mrs. Franklin when she couldn't remember the name of the point guard at Texas Tech to help him while he was telling a story. It was the Mr. Franklin who would crank up the heater for basketball practice in the gym and line up the entire team with a cup to make them drink Alka-Seltzer if one person sneezed and he thought there was a chance anyone was getting sick and beat you with a sorting stick or a clipboard if you put the fat hog first after he told you not to do that anymore.
But that wasn't the Mr. Franklin I knew. The one who hugged me with tears running down his face at my Gran's funeral. The one who dropped me at the airport at Louisville and waited until he could wave at me after I made it through security. The one whose lower lip would start to quiver when a State Star Farmer plaque was presented or a basketball trophy came home to Logan or he got a gift at the FFA banquet. The one who stopped showing sheep one afternoon to come over and tell me that I had no idea how much he missed me after I went to college. The one who called me every hour on the hour for an entire night when I had food poisoning and then drove me to the hospital the next week when I was still not better. The one who kissed me on the cheek and told me he loved me every time I said goodbye and left his house. That was the Mr. Franklin I knew.
So if you ask me, those people were wrong about how he would have reacted to my tears. The Mr. Franklin I knew would have put his arm around me and let me cry. Then when I was done, he probably would have lectured me one more time about how badly we screwed up that keep/cull class at State FFA in 1999. And I would love every minute of it.