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Plain and Simple for June 19, 2014

SoVaNow.com / June 16, 2014
Yesterday was Father’s Day and it caused me to think back to my own father who has now been dead for many years. He is still a guiding light to me and, through me, to my children and grandchildren. We pack ourselves into those around us and it is perhaps our greatest honor to be remembered and honored.

I have difficulty in isolating what is most valuable in what my father taught me. He certainly left me with a sense of humor which has allowed me to laugh when circumstances and common sense dictated that one should cry. That has proved to be invaluable because there is unique value in being able to hold on until the sun shines again.

My father valued education, perhaps because he had so little formal education himself. He went out into the fields at the age of nine to help support eleven brothers and sisters at the height of the depression and never returned to school. Nonetheless, he read more than anyone I have ever known and kept up with politics. He was truly self-educated. He had no patience for people with their heads in ivory towers but he did respect education.

My father also taught me the importance and value of hard work. Even at the end of his life, he could work circles around me. He never slowed down. At one point, he worked twelve years straight at Dan River Mills without missing a day and that meant getting there in all kinds of weather. He often worked seven days a week. To him there was no such thing as doing a job half-way. You did it right or you did not do it.

He also believed in honesty. We once had a saying in this country that your word was your bond. It meant that a person could simply say something and you believed it because they had given their word.

My father was like that. He would sooner die than go back on his word. I remember my ill-fated venture into kindergarten. When I was young, very few children went to kindergarten. One opened up near us as an experiment and I went. One day some money went missing and they accused me of taking it. My father came down and I remember him staring intently at me. I told him, honestly, that I did not take it. That was good enough for him.

He took me home and told the school that I would not lie.

Later, they discovered that I had been wrongly accused. He refused to send me back. I still warmly remember that my father trusted me.

People who have a good father have been blessed beyond measure. I was one of the most blessed.


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