During one’s life they encounter countless numbers of people that are nothing more than friends relatives or acquaintances. Most of these encounters are nothing more than that…just encounters or friendships with no particular impact on how you’ll turn out in life. There there are others that have provided direction, advice, or help in some way. Sometimes we thank them and sometimes we don’t, and while these small things may not seem significant at the time, as you reflect back on your life and why you ended up where you ended…you might be able to point to one of those individuals as a reason that you went in a particular direction or are where you are today. I call these the “unsung heroes” of your life, and even though nothing they did was heroic or extraordinary, they are still special people that contributed in some way to who you are now. Simply put, they were just good people, and from THAT you respected who they were and what they were about and eventually what lesson in life you took from them.
In my own life, I had several of these “role models” that probably had no idea of the impact they had on my life. Now, this is not to say just because someone wasn’t mentioned here that there wasn’t other people influential in my life because there were, but these people are GOOD people that gave me something special. And because of their kind spirit, being well liked by all people and having time for their fellow man…I appreciate and want to salute these beautiful, kind and good souls. I’m not perfect, but the GOOD in me (yes, I do have a little good in me) is because of these ladies and gentlemen and my learning from them through these small and (in)significant actions on their part.
I won’t go into much detail here, but I will give a brief description of who these people are and why I admire them so much. I purposely did not include IMMEDIATE family, as it goes without saying that Mom and Dad and my Brothers are always at the top of my list.
Roy and Louise Anderson – Friends of mine (as good as family), and my Mom and Dad’s best friends their entire life, even before I was born. Roy and Louise were the epitome of happy people and good people. They saw our family through both good and bad times in Michigan. I miss them very much. They were my Mom’s ROCK FOUNDATION as she struggled with an alcoholic husband.
T. B. Smith – If EVER there was a better Pastor or Preacher of the Gospel…I wouldn’t know who it would be. Brother Smith baptized my Mom in the Flint River in the Early 1960’s. He’s still just a good ole retired PREACHER and a good man. When I think of a good Godly man, T. B Smith is the first person I think about.
Nova and Buster Crain – The house parents at the Randolph County Children’s Home in Pocahontas, and where me and my brothers lived for 3 years. Without these TWO and their family, there is no telling where I would be now. They did more for changing a misdirected path for kids than anyone could ever imagine. We owe them our life…I’m sure of it.
Ed Rhodes – My (Step) Uncle Ed (he was a step sister to my Grandmother). He gave me my very first job. No it wasn’t much, I scraped paint for $2/hr back in 1971. But he gave me my first job, and taught me LAUGHTER. He was a card, and I looked up to him. I never thought of him as a “step” uncle…he WAS my regular Uncle Ed. I can still hear him laugh.
Chuck Haile – Uncle Sonny, at least that’s what we called him. He briefly helped raise us right after Mom and Dad divorced. But throughout his short life (died at 55 years old) he was funny, helpful, funny, funny and more funny. The stories and things he did could be in a book…no make that an epic novel. I loved that guy. His two favorite phrases….”That is a truism” and “Whatever” while he shook his finger at you.
S.D. Bray – S. D. Bray may be a surprise. Did he do much in regards to my upbringing…no. But he was a regular customer at our restaurant and every time he saw me, he shook my hand and had something GOOD to say me. He was always just SO NICE and interested. I don’t know what it was, but I admired him so…still do.
Carl Graves – If you grew up in Blytheville in the 70’s…you knew Carl Graves the Director at the YMCA. He provided a place for the YOUTH of Blytheville to go instead of being juvenile delinquents. Again, he was also a regular customer at the cafe and I know my Mom thought the world of him.
Rick Nelson – This guy. This man and my interaction with him was minimal. He was my Navy recruiter and also a customer at the cafe…but his influence as a Navy man and getting me in the Navy is something I have never forgotten, nor have I regretted. He was at the right place at the right time in my life when it was time to GROW UP for me…and he was a GOOD SAILOR! I was so glad to meet with him again a few years ago and share a beer.
Hilda Allgaier – Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Hilda Allgaier was my very first Navy Charge Nurse. She taught me about being a Corpsman. She extended the learning of how to be a Corpsman with things that Corpsman School didn’t teach. She taught me about medicine!
Sybil Hart – Wow. What a lady. You will NOT find a smarter and harder working woman than Dr. Sybil Hart. I have known her for a long time, and every time I see her, I am in AWE of her ability to stay young and be one of the FAIREST people that I know. PLUS, she continues to work (hard) even to this day. I have so many GOLLY DAMN moments with her over these almost 40 years. One helluva strong lady and an amazing person!!
So there you go…a few of the little people that influenced my life, but when I say “little” people, these are GIANTS in mind.
As I get older…I have fewer and fewer role models…I guess because I’m getting old myself now, or maybe it’s my turn to be someone’s else role model in some sort of inconspicuous way…maybe, maybe not.
But I challenge you to look at your life and think about the people who had no idea they had an influence on your life…and honor them. It could be a teacher, a friend, even a stranger.