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Thoughts While Thinking - June 2006

My Dad was a man of stature.  He was five feet, four inches tall, but in our community, he was a man of stature.  He didn't talk a lot, or talk very loud, but when he talked, people listened.  It wasn't always lofty ideas and learned thoughts.  Quite often it was a quick line that made you laugh.  Come to think of it, maybe that's why people listened.

Anyhow, we lived in a small community (pop. 354), it was during the big depression, and our economic status was, well, somewhat limited.  Our town didn't have a bank, a golf course, or really any other sign of prosperity.  But it was a good town.  Dad served as Chamber of Commerce President, Mayor, President of our Church, American Legion Adjutant, and participated in most things good for the area.

Well, finally there came the time for me to go to college.  I wasn't the most outgoing person in the world (or even in our town), so Dad was apparently a little worried about how I would get along in the "outside world".  Lubbock was a big city, and Texas Tech was a big school.  The day before I left, he gave me a check for $65.00 to pay registration fees, and gave me a few words of advice.  "Son," he said, "remember that there is nobody so little that you can't talk to them, and (he said and slowly and with emphasis), there is nobody so big that you can't talk to them".

I understood what he was saying.  And, I needed to hear that.

Then he continued.  "Whatever you do, always keep your word."  That was the extent of his advice.  Mom had given me all the other stuff like change your underwear every day, take a bath, go to church on Sunday, and write at least once a week.

Before a year was over, I had enlisted in the Army, then gone to Europe to fight WWII, came back and finished my college education at UT Austin, and had a really interesting career for the next fifty years.  The advice of both Dad and Mom served me well all these years also.  I knew that from the way that my Dad lived, he meant that "Keep your word" applied to everything. - If you told someone you would meet them at 3 o'clock, you met them at 3 o'clock.  If you accepted a chore to be done by Friday, it was done by Friday.  If you told your Mother you would see her in two weeks, you were there to see her.

Yes, my Dad was a man of few words,  In fact, I think he could have said all that I have tried to say in just three words:

Keep your word.