Hi there, on September 15th I received a phone call that my brother, Carl Hallenberger, lost his fight with cancer. As a tribute to him, I wanted to share with you two valuable lessons he taught me about life. First, you can be anything you want to be and second, it is a noble endeavor to teach.
As I have spent these last days thinking about his life, memories came flashing across my mind. Some of the earliest memories I have are of me playing near a pool as he would be competing in a swim meet or riding in a car early in the morning as my parents drove him to swim practice. I remember a string hanging in his room from one corner to the other full of ribbons he won swimming. As a teenager I saw that same brother become a competitive bareback rider and in my late teens he became an accomplished and competitive racquetball player.
During these times as an athlete he was also an accomplished musician. I remember watching him play trumpet in concert, marching and jazz band. I promise you, I never saw him pick up an instrument that he could not play. During our grandparent’s 50th anniversary, Carl and an uncle jumped on the piano during one of the bands break and entertained us. I really wish Facebook were around then. I promise you the scene would have gone viral. This event was repeated during his wedding, countless times during holidays at our parents house and just about anywhere there was an instrument lying around.
The lesson is, you can be anything you want to be. Carl never started anything without going all out for it. I haven’t even touched hunting and fishing. Everything I just described, was before he was 25. Wow. In my life, I have said and heard people say, “I cannot learn to do that.” or “I cannot change.” Let me brother’s life teach you a valuable lesson. We can all learn whatever we want and we can all change to be whoever we want to be.
A few months ago, my cousin, Horace Hallenberger, was in Austin for a business meeting. With great luck he was available one evening. I had an wonderful dinner with Horace, his wife and one of his daughter’s. During our dinner, he told me a story of one summer when Carl was visiting them in Idaho. Carl took the time to teach Horace the proper way to skip rocks. Everything from finding the best rocks, to the proper technique of throwing. I too remember the many things Carl taught me to do. From little pointers, like using different fingering patterns to help with scales on a trumpet, to the proper way to fire a gun and cast a fishing rod.
However, one story stands out in my mind. I am guessing I was about 8 years old and we were on a family trip to the Texas Coast. He took myself and another cousin, Anthony Rodriguez, who would have been about 6 years old, under his wing fishing. He set us up in a good spot, showed us how and where to cast and told us he would help us reel our catch in and put bait on our hooks. Well, he was a great teacher. As soon as we dropped our lines, right where he told us, we caught a fish. We were catching fish as fast as he could help us reel them in, un hook them and put new bait on the line. As soon has he had one of us ready to cast again, the other line would catch a fish. I am pretty sure he never got to fish on his own that day but he taught two young boys how to fish and I know my cousin is still an avid fisherman today.
The lesson here is that we all have something of value to share and teach. It is my humble opinion that the world would be a much better place if we all did our part and taught people what we know. Just as my brother did.
I would like to send my love to Carl’s wife Kara and their two amazing boys, Jacob and Josh. By the way, Jacob and Josh have the athletic gene of doing things all out as well, as they are both accomplished soccer players. Your husband and father touched many lives and the lessons his life has taught me will be shared and never forgotten.
Thank you for your attention and patience as I shared two lessons I learned from my brother in his memory. God Bless your soul Carl Hallenberger. The world is a better place because you were in it.