Inspirational tribute from DJSA President Jim Lampert

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Inspirational piece by DJSA President Jim Lampert

To my main best friend – my Dad Bob…

Hey Dad,

I know we only have a few days left together and that royally sucks, but its been awesome looking back on hundreds of memories with you. I don’t know why but every time you drift off to sleep it seems like I remember another 100 but I don’t want to wake you up just to see if you remember them too… but somehow I think you do…

All those times any normal Dad would have dis-owned me, but you stuck it out and here we are today. Who’d have thought you’d still be proud of me after all the gray hair I gave you?

I remember those 2 race karts you built for me and Mark, and I remember you taking us out to the vacant parking lot of Golden Gate Fields so we could practice. I remember that place  was gigantic and you felt confident nothing could go wrong… I swear to God Mark intentionally went backwards on the course you laid out and he hit me head on – It wasn’t me!

You gave us new 20 gauge shotguns one Christmas and you were excited to take us both duck hunting. I’m sorry I slipped in a hole and my waders filled up with water and it cut our adventure short because I was freezing, but I did appreciate you making Mark stop laughing at me…

I know that 67 Buick Riviera was your pride and joy and I will never forget how you helped me pick out a suit for the Senior Ball, so that I would look cool driving your “Riv” on a special night. Believe me when I say the worst moment of my life was at 4am and having to make the call to you that I had fallen asleep at the wheel and hit a firewood truck parked on the side of 680… Yes I’ll never forget “the look” you gave me when you pulled up and saw your totalled Riviera, but I also never forgot the first thing you asked after I told you I had wrecked your car – and that was you asking me if I was ok. Went something like this…

Dad I don’t know how to say this but I just wrecked your car…

Are you OK?

Yes.

Is anyone else hurt?

No

I’ll be there in 10 minutes.

What do you want me to do Dad?

Just stay by the car so I can find you – cuz after I find you I’m gonna kick your….

Dad I’m sorry!!!

then I remember the click and the silence on the other end!

And then there was the time I got arrested by WCPD for curfew – 1 day before my 18th birthday! You showed up to pick me up and you gave me “the look”. I asked the officer if I could just stay in the cell and he just laughed and said “your Dad is gonna kick your ass junior”. I remember the long silent walk out to your car and then you just stared at me and I remember feeling worthless… You busted out laughing and couldn’t stop and I didn’t know what to do, but I remember you firmly saying “its funny this time, but don’t ever let it happen again!” … and it never did.

In fact, the way you handled that situation had a lot to do with the way I handled “wayward juvenile calls” at work. One youngster I had to chase down in the middle of the night got the “Lambert look” – and the “Lambert Sermon” when he easily could have went to juvenile hall, but now whenever he sees me he says he never forgot the night that changed his life – and now he’s a highly looked upon commander at one of local police departments… hmmm, who’d have thought.

Just so you know – I never forgot the night in Walnut Creek that changed my life either Dad.

I remember you stealing my boots when I was in the academy and putting a spit shine on them that would never dull. You always told me to iron my uniform shirts with “3-pleats” and I’d never disappoint my supervisors… As always, you were right Dad. I remember you going on a ride-a-long with me in a crappy violent part of the county and I remember after going into a house for a child neglect call how pale you looked when we got back in my car. You looked at me and said “how the hell do you do this and stay so professional?” I looked at you and said

“that’s easy, I do it cuz of you Dad… you made me the person I am today”

All you said was, “well just don’t tell your Mother where you work and what you have to deal with!”

You always tried to talk me out of getting new pets because somehow or other you and Mom always ended up with them, but as much as you tried to talk me out of becoming a K9 officer I know you loved Rommel as much as I did for keeping me safe for 6 long years. I have pictures of you squirting the hose on my front lawn and that crazy 130lb Rottweiler leaping through the air trying to bite the water… and I think the smile on your face was just as big as mine.

I’ll never forget that morning on December 3rd 1994 at 10am when I had to put him to sleep in my arms. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life, but my entire team, by brother, and my Dad Bob was there to make it easier, and I also remember you being just as proud as I was when 200 cops showed up on the top of Mt Diablo for his memorial service. Thanks for always being there when I needed you Dad…whether I knew it or not at the time.

I remember you being proud when I graduated from high school, and I remember you being even more proud when I graduated from the academy and got sworn in.

I remember telling you I was going to start an ultra light floatplane business in the delta – and I remember you telling me I was a fool for leaving the ground in anything as rickety as an ultra light plane and to seriously think about seeing a shrink – but I also remember the look of amazement you had when you came back from your first flight and all you could say was… that was incredible!

I remember how proud you were when I was in the helicopter unit, and even from 800 feet above, I could see the smile on your face when you and Mom would come up to the boat to “let the dog out” and we would fly over and do those bad ass “wing overs” right over the boat. My smile was just as big as yours Dad…

Hundreds and hundreds of memories fill the blanks but the one that means the most is about djsa. You saw the struggle from day one – physically, financially, and emotionally, over trying to make this work and you tried to talk me out of it time and time again. It was almost like being in the patrol car in Richmond when you would ask me – why are you doing this to yourself.

You and Mom went to the awards dinner in 2006 when about 30 racers were being recognized, and then in 2007 it was at the Point Restaurant in Rio Vista where 85 people filled the room… In 2008 you watched us race at Six Flags in Vallejo and the awards dinner hosted 125 people… and in 2009 you saw 200 people fill the awards room at Go Kart Racer and I’ll be damned if you didn’t put on a race suit and go out and rip the course there as well… but what I’ll never forget is…

You coming out to the first Suisun race in 2010 to watch Memo Gidley, and some guy named Art Chambers who raced my X2. You couldn’t believe all the people who were there and towards the end of the day I turned around and looked up at you and Mom, and you gave me “that look” only this one was a look of pride and a smile with a thumb up telling me you understood why I do this. All I’ve ever wanted is for you to be proud of me Dad. Although a lot of my wild ideas never panned out, a few did, but the one that has meant most to me is this outlaw circuit we call djsa. For all the races you came out to, for all the awards dinners you attended with Mom, and for the passion you passed onto me for racing, and all the parental support you’ve given me over the years, I can’t say enough how much you mean to me. You’ve been the best Father anyone could ever hope to have, but you’ve also been an incredible role model, mentor, and when it comes down to it – you’ve been the best friend anyone could ever hope to have in a lifetime.

I love you Dad, and it really hurts to know you’re leaving but even though a whole lotta people are gonna be bummed out and missing you – please know there won’t be a single day that goes by that I won’t be looking up to heaven and thinking about you. I know you’re ready and you have no regrets. I can’t say I’m ready but I’ll tough it out  Unlike you I do have one regret –

I’m sorry I wrecked your Riv Dad!!!!!!

Robert H Lambert – I told you this earlier tonight and you smiled, but don’t forget it ok? “You’re like a God to me Dad”

No worries about anything, Mom will be in good hands –

just save us all a good seat in heaven for when it’s our turn to join you.

(If you can swing it I’ll need a front row seat when its my turn so I can watch all these jetski races with an unobstructed view.)

Thanks for all the great times, sorry bout the few bad ones

(but they’re funny now, right?)

and thanks for never giving up on me or Mark…

You’ll always be the guy I want to be like, and you’ll always be in my thoughts.

Love you Dad… always have – always will.

your son and biggest fan…

Jim

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