Rugged individualism is not dead!

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2001

Papa was a preacher.

That fact should in no way lead you to believe he was a namby-pamby "Goodie Two-Shoes" type.

As a matter of fact, quite the opposite definition of Papa is held true.

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There was no man, and there was no beast that made him quail at their sight.

And, on Sunday mornings, my friend, he would roll up his sleeves and whip the devil all over the pulpit dais.

He spent his week-days likewise, making Satan get behind him.

Papa never got past the sixth grade in public school, because he had to work the farm fulltime for his widowed mother and his younger sister.

Eventually, he went to work in the coal mines, became a prize fighter, and surprisingly, he read every book the public library put on its shelves.

He was so avid for knowledge that, after having consumed every tome and leaflet available in the big city (population at that time, about 25,000) that he cast about for other ways to quench his thirst for knowledge.

To that end, at age 23, he took and passed the college entrance examinations, entered college and in four years graduated at the top of his class with a B.A. degree.

He later entered a leading Ivy League College, and attained a Bachelor of Divinity degree. Subsequent to that he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree (D.D.) and for the remainder of his life was addressed as "doctor".

Even when he was well past middle age, you would find him of a morning shadow-boxing, snorting and jogging around the house.

He remained fit as a fiddle until a couple of years before going to his final reward.

Perhaps one of the greatest of Papa's accomplishments was his ability to say in the space of some 15 minutes what had to be said in his Sunday morning sermon; he would then pronounce the benediction and set his flock free before high noon.

Thus, he came to be admired and respected by all who crossed his path. He often said, "know what you are talking about, introduce it with a Biblical text, say it emphatically and briefly, and leave them with some food for thought."

Your Greenville Advocate staff is currently foot-stepping after Papa, trying their best to emulate his admonition of saying it emphatically and briefly and at the same time leaving some food for thought.