Ten days ago, we celebrated Father’s Day. The third Sunday in June has always had a special meaning to me. No, I am not a father, but this day has always had a special meaning to me because of the close relationship between me and my Dad. I am an only child and as a result, I have always felt extremely fortunate and blessed to be here. So, I am really close to both my Mom and my Dad (and Mom, next Mother’s Day, I am definitely writing a column titled “One For Mom.” You know how much I love you Mom, but this one is for Dad).
From a very young age, I have many memories of my life and of my parents. Sundays and going to church really stick out in my mind. Though my personality now doesn’t reflect this type of behavior (ha!ha!), my parents tell of me really acting up in church when I was young. My Dad still talks about the Sunday morning that I asked where we were going and when he said “To church, to Jesus’ house,” to which I replied, “Why? We go all of the time and he has never been home.”
I also remember our after church lunches with Mom cooking (which still happens today). I could hardly wait until lunch was over before I started asking my Dad to go outside and do some type of activity with me. My Dad was a basketball player in high school. So, in wanting to be just like Dad, as most young boys do, I used to try to play basketball. As a result, I would want to head down to the neighborhood basketball court/gym before Sunday lunch was hardly over. I still remember the countless times that I heard, “Not now, we have to wait until lunch digests first.” Well, just like Christmas in those days, the time seemed to just inch along and the moment I was waiting for seemingly never would arrive. Finally, it would be time to go. Dad would stay there with me for long periods of time on many Sunday afternoons. I remember my first pair of Converse All-Star basketball “Hi-Tops” that Dad bought for me. I thought that I was a real “All-Star” in those shoes. We also threw the football around or played pitch some Sunday afternoons. As I grew older, Sunday afternoons began to revolve around watching sporting events. This Sunday afternoon activity, like Mom’s after church lunches, still continues to this day.
My Dad went into business for himself when I was just one and a half years of age. Dad started in the electronic parts distribution business. Dad was a wholesale distributor that sold to TV repair shops and other retail outlets who in turn, sold to the public. Eventually, Dad developed an interest for the finished product and began selling televisions, car and home stereos, CB radios. Eventually, Dad also moved into handling refrigerators, washers/dryers and various other home appliance products (even furniture) also as a wholesale distributor. Mom worked with Dad quite a bit when things were first getting started back in the early 60s, but then eventually as I grew older, she only worked regularly about once a month helping to get out billing statements. By the time I was in high school, Dad’s business had grown into four locations in three states with approximately 50 employees. I have seen my Dad help so many people/employees though the years. There were many periods of time when I rarely saw my Dad because he was so busy. However, we still remained very close.
I started working for my Dad (or as I always say, with my Dad) when I was about 10 years old. I worked on Saturdays and after school. At age 12, I started in the distribution warehouse. I tried to work extremely hard to evade the boss‘s son thoughts and remarks often made by the other employees. Most all of the hard work character traits that I developed back then still carry over and remain as a part of my work ethic today. I owe all of it to my Dad (and Mom) as a result of the lessons they taught me and all of the work experience that I gained at such a young age.
When I was 17, I started driving the big “two-ton +” delivery box trucks. I remember Dad watching me drive away the very first time that I headed out on my own with my nerves, stripping gears on the manual transmission, trying to figure things out as I drove along at a slow speed. With Dad pushing me to step out of my comfort zone and to go ahead and “go-for-it” in driving the big truck, I learned another important lesson — the value of attempting something that is uncomfortable and then I relished in the experience of what it is like to achieve success in doing so. Actually, as time passed, I got pretty good at driving the trucks. I really loved making the product deliveries and I also learned valuable customer relation skills at a very young age, all thanks to my Dad!
I worked with Dad all through my college years and upon graduation, I began a real full time position working with my Dad. The closeness that we have always had carried over with us working in business together. God blessed me with wonderful special parents. And for this, I realize that I am very fortunate and again, blessed! Throughout my whole entire life, my Dad has been such an inspiration to me in so many ways and has set quite an example for me in: life lessons, work, religion and spiritual areas…and in so many more ways.
Dad and I still share and discuss so many things: politics, religion, sports, etc. I get daily messages/phone calls about the very latest LSU news.
For some, your Fathers have passed on and they are no longer here on this earth. However, you still have many great memories and life lessons taught to you by your Dad. For certain, all of this will carry on with you for the rest of your life and will also be passed down through you to your children/family members. For others of us, our Dad’s are still here. Truthfully, not a day goes by that I fail to say “I love you” and Thanks” to my Dad. I try hard to never miss any opportunity to say “THANKS Dad” (and Mom)! Thanks for everything! You made me what I am today and I have had a great life so far and in so many ways. For sure, the best is still yet to come!
Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org