Howard R

I had a pretty good childhood. Playing hide and seek, football, tag, cops and robbers, soccer, ride motorcycles, etc… with all my friends. You know, your typical childhood.

In my younger years, I was never close to my dad. He was the type of guy that went to work, brought home the paycheck, mowed the yard, fixed stuff around the house, etc… Mom stayed home with the kids, so naturally I was closer to her than I was my dad. Dad and I never really “hung out" and did things together. Don’t get me wrong, he did come to my baseball games, my 8th grade band concerts, etc… but stuff with just me and him? Not really.

If we had done the father and son thing when I was a kid, maybe it would’ve been a little easier for both of us when my mom passed away. She died the day before my 14th birthday. I know it happens, I’m just glad I had her around for as long as I did. It was tough, not just for me and not just for dad, but for “me and dad” too. I mean, we really didn’t know what to say to each other or how to behave when we were together. It’s like we were miles apart and didn’t know each other at all.

When I got older and got my own place, dad would ALWAYS give me money whether I needed it or not. He’d always ask “Gary, how are you on cash?" No matter what I said, he would always give me money. Like I said, I don’t think he knew what to say whenever he saw me. Now though, I think maybe that was his way of saying, “Hey, I care about you."

As I got a little older, I married the most wonderful woman in the world. My wife and I tried taking my dad out to dinner. He wouldn’t let me pay for the check, he’d always pay the bill. I guess that’s the only role he really felt comfortable with… “provider”. I told myself that one of these days I was going to buy his meal (an item on my bucket list so to speak). Probably, in part, for selfish reasons too; I guess I wanted to prove to him that I wasn’t a kid anymore.

My dad was always a HUGE country music fan. When I was working in radio (country format), whenever he would call me at home, that was the only thing we could really talk about - country music. It was the only thing we had in common. The phone calls, typically, wouldn’t last that long. If the conversation wasn’t about country music, we didn’t know what else to say.

After my mom died, a few years later my dad moved from Texas to Franklin, KY, which is about a 40 minute drive from Nashville, TN. In February 2003, I happened to be in Nashville at CRS. CRS is a convention for country radio broadcasters and country music . I actually debated whether to call my dad and let him know I was in town that week (I didn't want him to feel obligated to come see me). I did choose to make the call and he drove down to my hotel to have lunch with me. When the check came, my dad pulled out his wallet. I told him “I got this one, dad”, he said “no, no... Let me pay for it." I actually lied and told him that I had an expense account and the radio station would reimburse me for the lunch. I couldn’t believe that it actually worked, he let me pay for the tab! I wish I didn’t have to lie to him, but with him living so far away... I knew my chances of EVER paying for his lunch were pretty slim, since I didn’t see him much anymore. Little did I know, that was going to be the last time I ever saw him again. He died 5 weeks later.

I guess that’s why I’m writing this. There are a lot of things I wish I told him, but never did. So, in a weird way, I hope he’s reading this.

Just because I was able to FINALLY buy his lunch, wasn’t the reason it was one of my best days. It's because that day has given me the last image I have of him… one of the best memories I have of my dad. I'll get to that in a second.

My dad was a good man. An honest man. He was a nice person, but stern when he needed to be. It’s weird though, although we didn’t seem to know each other that well, he was the type of guy who never met a stranger. He could strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere at anytime, probably talk their ear off sometimes! He was very generous and had a lot of friends. My dad was willing to help anyone who needed it. Although he might appear "rough and tough" on the outside, he was very compassionate. Some of those qualities I didn’t notice until after he passed away. Even though he’s not alive anymore, he’s become a role model for me.

Like I said earlier, my dad was a HUGE country music fan. When he came to my hotel to meet me for lunch, he was amazed at all the country music stars just walking around the hotel lobby! He was so excited to see them all! I took him back into the convention area, as a guest, where there were more stars. Country music singers just wandering around, like Clay Walker, Tracy Lawrence, Terri Clark, Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, etc… He got to meet and see several celebrities. I could see it in his eyes, he was just so happy and excited. Honestly, I hadn't seen him that excited since the time he threw a surprise party for my mom on their 25th wedding anniversary, about 2 months before she died. He was on cloud nine that day we had lunch.

My last image of my Dad? Well, we were back in the lobby of my hotel and my dad got excited when he saw Lee Greenwood (wrote and sung “God Bless the USA”) standing there. I told my dad that I had to leave so I could make it to my next radio seminar, so I walked out of the hotel. As I was walking away, I turned around and looked through the glass doors and saw that my dad had struck up a conversation with Lee Greenwood. I thought to myself “Poor Lee Greenwood, he’s going to be stuck there talking to my dad for at least 20 minutes."

Lee Greenwood didn’t know how lucky he was.

Submitted by Anonymous


Love
Pass It On®
Pass It On®

  email

Your Comments
Here are some other inspiring stories you might like.
BRAVERY
HARRIET TUBMAN Harriet Tubman freed 300 slaves she was so brave that is why she is my hero
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
LORI R. In 2012 Lori, along with her then high school age daughter Shira, began to keep their vehicle filled with pet supplies to hand out to the pets living on the streets of Riverside, CA with their homeless companions. They would give out pet food, leashes, collars and water so the pets would be fed well and kept...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
HELPING OTHERS
SAWYER A. After learning about children and families in the poverty-stricken villages of Zambia; a country in south-central Africa, Sawyer Anderson wanted to help bring clean, safe water to the villagers. At age 9, Sawyer wrote and illustrated the book, Water Works, which is published in America, Vietnam (in Vietnamese)...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
CARING
TISH R My former wife is an amazing individual. She works as a behavior analyst, and has been helping injured others achieve a much greater quality of life. In one of my proudest specific memories, she facilitated a transition for a man who was in an ALF, brain-injured, from wearing diapers in a wheelchair to...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
BEING THERE
BK SAINI SAINI My husband helped me since he knew me since 1975. He is there for me every single day. He is so kind all the time. He took care of me during any need except not when he is at the job. He comes at home if any emergency arrives. For God’s grace he was never called till today. I still remember when our second baby...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
KINDNESS
WENDY T Wendy was my wife of 4 years. We dated in high school, over 30 years ago. Eight years ago, we reconnected, and fell in love all over again. I quickly became attuned to why she was so special: Her kindness. I had never met anyone before, who showed as much kindness to everybody, as Wendy had. It wasn't one...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
ACHIEVEMENT
AXANA SOLTAN Axana’s steadfast commitment to service made her not only an international voice of activism, but also a champion for the minorities. For the year of 2018-2019, Axana was selected as one of the United Nations finalists to serve as the U.S.A Youth Observer at United Nations Headquarters. The following year, Axana...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
STRENGTH
ANDRE D On May 2, 2014 Andre' MY HUSBAND at the age of 42 suffered a massive heart attack, he was without oxygen to his brain for several minutes. It caused an Anoxic Brain Injury and other problems such as cortical blindness, seizures and he is bedridden for the rest of his life and resides in a nursing home. The...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
PEACE
DANA W Grieving (Fly High Dana Wilson Jr.) On March 7, 2022 my only little brother passed away at home in his bed. This has been one of the hardest things to deal with. I dont think a day goes by that i dont find myself breaking down crying. I think my eyes are puffy did alot of crying yesterday..omg this is really...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
COMPASSION
CHARLIE SCHULZ My son, Charlie, was an inspiration to many during his 19 years on this earth. When Charlie was in 5th grade, despite what we learned later was severe social anxiety, their strong sense of what was right led them to circulate petitions among their 5th grade schoolmates and write and present a statement (through...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
LOVE
AMARA OKEKE My hero is my late mother Since 2000, she fells sick. She was diabetic, all my life I have taken care of her , I abandoned my school, my Visa and career to taken care of her , after 19 years of my sufferings she died last two Saturdays..I was actually 6 years when I started cooking, doing house chores for my...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
CARING
BETTY DRUCK I want to tell you about my grandmother,she is in her late 50's,she has spent everyday of her life caring for everyone she meets.She has had multiple surgeries and other problems of her own and yet she has given everything for her family,she has spent every christmas with my dad,even when she was in other...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
MENTORING
MISTY WELLS 5 Years ago Misty saw a need in children in Foster Care and she took action. For the past 5 years going strong Misty started a non profit called " A Reel Future" where she takes children in Group Foster Care fishing. She has single handed taken over 3,000 foster children fishing. She is showing them...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
FAMILY
PAT C Next to his faith in God, the most important thing in my Dad’s life was his family; my Mom who was the love of his life, his kids, grandkids, great grandkids, brothers, and sisters. One of the ways he made life better for all of us and left his fingerprint on our lives was through the use of what I like to call...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
WISDOM
JAHSEH O There are many heros I look up to, but Jahseh Onfroy helped me through the darkest times in my life. His music did not only help me but it helped countless people. When he spoke to us, it was always about growing and becoming better than what we are. I have learned many valuable lessons from him, and I constantly...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
KINDNESS
MOTHER TERESA Mother Teresa was born in Albania and left her home country very early in life. She lived in Ireland to learn English, and ultimately went to India where she resided until her death. She was a beacon of hope for many. She did not look to caste, class, religion, skin color, or any other identity to separate...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
Where did your values come from?

We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.

Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories