I've been thinking about my Dad a lot the past few weeks. He died on July 5, 2000. His birthday is coming up on July 24 (he would be 81, if I remember his birth year correctly). So I guess July brings with it many memories of my father.
To me, the one quality that stands out the most about Dad was his humility. He really had quite an illustrious career. He was in the Army in World War II, stationed in the Philippines. He and my mom were married for 52 years. He won all sorts of awards and distinctions as a business leader in the state of South Carolina. He managed a radio station for 40 years. He did the "color" for the Clemson Football Radio Network for several years in the '60s. Everybody in the town of Union, SC, knew him (to them, at the age of 52 I'm still "Ed Osborne's boy"). But in spite of all those honors and achievements, he was very self-effacing.
Probably my favorite memories of Dad are the many times he took me fishing and skiing on Lake Murray where we had a house. He would drive the boat for hours while my brother and I and our friends water-skiied, and I don't think he ever complained. In fact I don't remember him ever complaining about much. He stayed in our little town his whole working life. I guess he did that because he valued loyalty over ambition, community over upward-mobility.
I'm glad I could be a kid who knew his Dad was up there in the stands watching me play football and wrestling. I'm glad he made his marriage last a lifetime. I'm glad he taught me to work hard, be courteous, and look people in the eye. I'm glad we stayed in the same house my entire life...I think that gave me a measure of contentment and stability. I'm glad for the time we both pigged out on Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
After Dad retired he grew more and more affectionate, even though he also quickly started declining physically. My life changed the day he hugged me and wouldn't let go. We shared some particularly poignant moments in the months leading up to his death.
Thank you, God, for giving me a wise and humble father. I wish he were here to talk to. But there will be lots of time for that in heaven.