Happy 70th Birthday, Friday, May 13, 2022, to my Father, “The Big Fish”, John Brazier Hewlett!
He and I joke about the stories he’d tell in my youth, as I’d wonder if any could be true, they were so outlandish, and then later I found out they all were, so we both call him The Big Fish, in reference to the movie that tells a variation of the story of our life as father and son.
He once came home triumphant from a successful fishing trip to Alaska proclaiming how he’d wrestled a king salmon for miles and hours on end, Old Man And The Sea style, until reeling it into the boat. Exhausted, he and his fishing companions were stunned to see the 60-lb fish looking up at them before it finally perished, my old man having won the fight. He shouted to us, “It’s as big as Josh (our littlest brother at the time) and it will feed us for a year! They had to pack it up and will ship it home soon.” We laughed and said Dad was just exaggerating again…and a year later we were still eating salmon every night. Stories like that became the norm.
As a kid I remember walking at his side and seeing every face light up as each person recognized him, the first celebrity I’d ever known was my own Dad, as hugs, laughs, and connections were made and shared with each interaction. The ultimate salesman, everyone’s cheerleader and friend, I couldn’t have been more proud if Superman were my dad, that’s who I felt I was being raised by.
He was my first coach of every team sport.
We tried baseball, for which he’d had a scholarship to Ricks College in the 1970’s as a pitcher. My career lasted one at bat, as a baseball to the helmet in the batter’s box made me choose other sports to attempt.
Soccer was more of an obligation than success, even with my Dad begging me to go after the ball, I could be found doing cartwheels and chasing butterflies at the wrong end of the field, perfecting my heel-kicks instead of futbol kicks, while my lifelong friend and neighbor Candace Christiansen was the star of our team of boys as the lone superstar young lady. Pictured below is my Dad in the middle and me smiling in front of him, eyes closed in the sun ala Forrest Gump, he gave me the nickname Opie from The Andy Griffith Show.
When I was 12 he took me on an insurance incentive trip he achieved for his success to golf in Ireland. Seeing his lifestyle, joy in his work, jet-setting the world, it inspired me to want the same: to love what I would do and become for a career and life. Sitting next to him at conventions where he was honored, giving standing ovation speeches, better than the hired keynote speaker, I wanted to be on the stages of those conventions someday, too. I thought it would be as an insurance salesman carrying on his business and legacy, Hewlett Brothers Financial Corporation, if my NBA dream didn’t pan out, yet how fascinating to know I now get to be on those stages at conferences around the world honoring those achieving their career’s greatest work.
My Dad groomed me from the earliest years to focus, dedicate myself, just work that much harder than the next guy and you’ll get the opportunity, to perform at the highest level, no matter that you stayed up all night preparing, once the lights come on you are ready. He taught me The Promise from go, just by the way he went about his business and every day interactions with others.
It was always cool to be able to say, “My Dad is the best salesman in the WORLD.” My friends would say, “That’s not possible.” And then I’d bring them to the house and show them the plaques, honors, awards, magazine and newspaper articles. They were stunned, I was proud. Then they’d say, “So what are going to do for a living?” The shadow loomed large but was inspiring.
How amazing when all came full circle and I was on the Million Dollar Round Table stage, fondly called the Olympics of Speaking, and had the chance to have him there with me, in the audience, be recognized by his peers. It was a shock to everyone in the audience to see him, over 10,000 in attendance, cheering for him, as I gave the Keynote address in Los Angeles, CA in 2018 and told his story on the video below.
Here’s the article of that once in a lifetime experience.
As he would race down Parley’s Canyon from our mansion Park City home, Dad driving with his knees eating a sandwich and talking on the first car cell phone, going to another front row seat game to see our beloved Utah Jazz, to watch our friend and neighbor Mark Eaton block the shot, full court pass to Stockton and then to Malone, as I was seated in between Steve Young and the Jazz Dancers, I thought that life was normal for a teen.
He provided for us an exemplary childhood experience, even realizing my future looked bleak in school (as I shared in this BLOG POST) so he and Mom packed up our beloved Park City home and moved us to Sandy, UT into a 12,000 sq-ft mansion, the jewel of Little Cottonwood, where I was enrolled into a private school called Waterford that would go on to change the course of my life’s inabilities with education’s expectations I couldn’t meet, but my parents knew something was in there that could blossom. How thankful I am for parents who saw the potential if I was just given the best, even most expensive chance. Even as I make a generally healthy living, I still can’t comprehend sending 5 kids to school at those financial rates. Don’t know how he did it.
Actually I do. I’ve never seen anyone work harder than my Dad. And he works with pure joy. Contagious excitement. Even if you don’t need ice and live in Antarctica, he could sell it to you out of pure storytelling and energy. I remember him taking me on a sales visit with a family to whom he was pitching a new product that would take him to be recognized as the top salesman in the world during my high school years. He walked me through exactly what he would say, how he would be silent once the fee was quoted and wait for their response, what they would say and how they would object to the fee, and how he would guide them to sign. I watched it unfold as my eyes bugged out, a famous family putting their trust in what he could do for them and he delivered on his promise, and the referrals came pouring in.
I remember groggily coming down the stairs in the morning and seeing through the crack in his home office, he seemed to always be awake, and in the dawn hours would be pouring over the scriptures.
Thankful for his stories of an incredible church mission under his parents, Lester & Peggy Hewlett, serving as Mission President in Melbourne, Australia, where he also served, and in New Zealand. It wasn’t something I ever questioned I might do, it was what I wanted, because he loved his mission so much and told me I would, too. As student body president of my high school, I shared with the entire school my mission call to cheers from peers that I would be leaving to serve in Florianopolis Brasil in August 1997, 60 days after graduating.
I’ll never forget the final day of my 2 years in Brazil, having only spoken 4 times by phone over 730 days (twice on Mother’s Day, twice on Christmas), as my Dad entered the mission office and we embraced, sobbing with shared experience through handwritten letters and joy of a gospel we love, legacy continued in the Hewlett name of spreading the word of God. We then traveled, just Dad, Mom and I, throughout Brazil for an unforgettable trip and the closing of my childhood.
My goals as a kid in terms of my relationship with my Dad were to make him proud, not embarrass him too much, do what I knew I should in how I was raised, and to make him laugh. The moment that changed my life forever was in 7th grade, when during a recitation of the poem “The Calico Cat” I was given the sound effect freedom to do any cat sound I wanted. Once my turn came I let loose with the most horrific cat sound I could think of, over-exaggerated, ridiculous, and with the hope and intention of seeing my Dad laugh from the back of the room. Suddenly the crowd roared with laughter and the poem had to be stopped because my Dad was laughing so hard, so loud, tears flowing, he had to leave the room while causing a scene. As a kid, making your Dad laugh to that extent can change your life, and it did for me. From then on, when he’d sing to his favorite songs on the radio in the car, I would change the words, do the voice, nail the impression, harmonize with him, and we’d plug our noses singing, “Summer Breeze” to Seals & Crofts as we laughed down the highway to the next experience he would create.
In my book, “The Promise To The One” I tell the story of hoping my Dad would accept my ambitions to make a career of being an Entertainer, Speaker, and Performer. The story was put into video form in a video book, which I have never shared this chapter before, but do here today for this special occasion. I hope you enjoy seeing how my Dad as my Mentor helped launch my career and believed in me at this most critical juncture of my life.
How do you sum up what a Dad means to you as he crosses the threshold of 70? I can say there was never a boy who had a better Dad. He provided a most wonderful childhood, a vision of what my future could become if I wanted to work hard enough, taught me the gospel and importance of family heritage, the power of goal-setting, reading daily, connecting with others, cheering them on, and loving my life’s work.
Now a most wonderful grandfather, who cherishes time with his grandchildren, whether teaching them how to swim, making them laugh as they climb on him in the hot tub, taking them in The Mule for rides at the Ranch, or being named after him, as is Royal Brazier Hewlett. We are thankful he provides memories and opportunities for our families (siblings and cousins) to have places to congregate and continue the Hewlett legacy.
Now my children are teenagers, I am in my mid-40’s, and my Dad continues to mentor me as we talk on the phone in the midst of our latest adventures, challenges, heartaches within the world and gratitude for truths eternal in our shared beliefs. It is inspiring to see him recreate himself over and over, always pushing, creating, and evolving.
Reflecting on our amazing life together I am so thankful he is still around even after his many near misses and health challenges, as he continues to succeed in his incredible life-changing business of Cardio Miracle and helping others reclaim their health. His business is actually going bananas crazy successful, catapulted by the hysteria of the pandemic, as people learned of CardioMiracle and it’s capacity to keep COVID, diabetes, heart disease, and other issues at a controllable level without medication. It’s amazing and I take it every day. I endorse it fully and receive no compensation for telling you about it, other than happily will read your emails you send to me when you take it and it changes your health for the better. Here’s the web site and my Dad’s story.
Happy Birthday Dad!
We love you and are thankful for your health, life, and spirit.
Thank you for all you’ve taught me and the many blessings, doors opened, and belief in what I could become, and your investment in my dreams.
Here’s to many more years of open rivers, and healthy waters, for The Big Fish to swim in.
~ Jason & Tami, Ella, Redford, Romney & Royal
Dear Reader – If you feel inclined to send John a special birthday message, his email is: firstname.lastname@example.org