To conclude this little series, I wanted to talk a bit about the man who I have known the longest, how has made the most extensive impact on my life – My father. I know I inherited his love of travel. Mom jokes about both of our middle names being “Let’s go.” I can have a duffle bag packed and be headed for the door a bit quicker than he can now, but he would be right behind me. The only thing that would get him out the door quicker was if someone needs him.
I was raised with a strong example. A few weeks ago, on a rather lazy Saturday morning, we received a phone call. It was a bit early, but not a big deal. I was heading outside in my farm clothes (old jeans and holey t-shirt) to feed the horse. I heard “What hospital?” and I knew to turn around, head back to my bedroom, shave and get dressed. We were going somewhere. I have been shocked to discover that such a reaction is not typical for people in my age group. It has always been an automatic assumption in my household, even to the point where it is second nature even when dad was off at a football game at the other side of the state.
I posted a few weeks ago about giving a speech at GMC. The man who introduced me (Edward Shelor, also mentioned on Tuesday) pulled me aside before the start of the event. He told me that he had my introduction, but wouldn’t be mentioning my “greatest accomplishment.” A few years earlier, he had been taken to the hospital with abnormal heart rhythm. His niece, who is one of my best friends, and who I was working with on the campaign at the time, called and told me. She was worried because she was stuck at a campaign event for another hour. What she didn’t know is that dad had heard me talking on the phone, had gotten dressed, and we were on our way before she had even finished telling me what was happening. We beat her to the hospital. What Shelor calls my “greatest accomplishment” is nothing more than the influence of my father being automatically applied in a real life situation.
Some of my other “great achievements” have been planning events. As a graduate assistant, I had to plan two program dinners, and oversee a statewide academic conference. My first time meeting with the caterer, she made the comment, “You’ve done this before, haven’t you?” No, I had not. I had just been sitting in dad’s meetings setting up conferences for most of my life. By my being able to see him organizing conferences twice a year for most of my life, I was ready and knew what had to be done. While I did get nervous, I was able to pull it off without panicking.
Dad has a network of spies. By network, I mean a HUGE network. I can be anywhere in the state and run into someone who refers to me as “Little Quincy.” It’s not uncommon for Dad to know where I am, and who I’m with, before I’m even done with my dinner. Some of his spies (I’m thinking of Harold Mason here, among others) even like getting me in trouble. (I promise, I had shrimp gumbo in that glass, not a margarita… My Diet Coke was right beside me on the table.)
I remember how proud I was the first time Dad and I had gone somewhere and we were introduced as “Mr. Simpson and his father.” But, I know I’ll always be Little Quincy, and that’s okay with me. Love you, Dad.