As we celebrate the gentlemen in our lives this month with Father’s Day and this annual gentleman’s issue, I can’t help but think back on my father and what a gentleman he was. He had many sayings I often heard while growing up that I thought were hilarious at the time. But today I totally understand sentiments like “anything free I can’t afford” or “if it wasn’t that, it’d be something else.”
I never heard the man raise his voice, and maybe that is because I was afraid he would raise his belt too – and that, I did see him do! He never met a stranger. He treated everyone with kindness and as an equal. I think back on numerous times that I watched him do for the elderly, care for and provide for those in need. He always wanted to give a helping hand especially to those who might be in a rough spot or down on their luck. I can recall he would pick up hitchhikers and bring them to our small town, buy them a motel room and a meal and then early the next morning, he would take them a change of clothes and drive them an hour in whatever direction they were heading. But not before making sure he gave them some spending money. I am certain there was a conversation with them before he let them out about straightening up, and he wished them well.
He came from very humble beginnings, and I am sure he knew firsthand what it was like to be down and out. I realize, only now, what a success he had become from where he came from. I know he did all he could as a father and for that, I am eternally grateful. The older I got, the smarter that man was in my eyes.
Remembering him now with the eyes and experience of an adult and father myself, I am saddened that he never got to know my children and even more so for them, growing up without him in their lives.
As life tells us, I can carry on the lessons I have learned from him and try to be more like him in many ways. Hopefully, I will pass those best qualities down to my children, especially my sons, as I raise them to be the southern gentlemen their grandfather was. Those qualities of: Being kind, caring, fun and funny, thoughtful, respectful, appreciative and humble, truly do define him and what I think of when I think of what a southern gentleman is.
Once a year, I pen this Publisher’s letter as part of our annual tribute to our community’s leading men. I enjoy this issue for all that it holds of interest to gentlemen as well as all of the summer content – my favorite season! This issue is no exception and, in some ways, even more so, as we pay tribute to several gentlemen both my wife and I know and knew. Saying goodbye to some greats in our community and lives in general, with profiles and features in this issue, gives meaning to the word legacy. The legacy of great men is all around us, and I know I am better having known so many of them personally. Even to hear about those I did not have the privilege to know, fills me with respect and honor to recognize them here.
Enjoy this issue, gentlemen AND ladies.