The Old Man

FullSizeRenderThe Old Man turns 65 on June 22, 2015. Those of us who know him celebrate his work, love, integrity, and service.

Let me tell you a bit about The Old Man. He was born on in Douglas, Georgia, the second of three boys born to John and Katherine Hendley. His dad was an optometrist and his mother was a fiesty homemaker, (think Katherine Hepburn’s character in the movie Rooster Cogburn). As a boy the Old Man was raised at 2588 Delano Drive in Macon and attended TD Tinsley Elementary School. When he was 12 years old his family moved to Albany, Georgia, and he attended and graduated from Albany High.

For reasons we cannot explain the Old Man decided to attend the University of Georgia his freshman year of college. He ultimately came to his senses and transferred to Georgia Tech where he graduated, (eventually), with a degree in Behavioral Management. Not much is known about his time at college, because the Old Man won’t talk about it. It is believed he was involved with a group of hooligans who may or may not have resembled the characters from Animal House. Sources will neither confirm or deny that the Old Man once attempted to steal the “T” from the TECH tower.

Belushi togaAfter college the Old Man and several of his fellow hooligans, in an effort to avoid entering the real world, moved to Alaska where they worked, grew beards, and continued their tomfoolery. Eventually the Old Man came home and met a sweet girl who helped him settle down and start a family. The Old Man married Janine Long on April 10, 1976. They eventually moved to St. Simons Island, GA, where the Old Man worked for Rich Sea Pak for 26 years. During that time the he became father to two boys, Travis, (the handsome one), and Bryan.

Dates and places give you an outline for the Old Man’s life, but don’t tell the whole story. The Old Man is first and foremost a man who loves his family. He cares for his wife, his sons, and his extended relatives. He’s been known to take time out of family trips to visit relatives who could no longer get around, (much to the consternation of his kids). He faithfully attended every sporting event, play, and activity his children were involved in. The Old Man cared for his own.

The Old Man is known for his work and for how he worked. He worked hard, (sometimes too hard), to be successful in his job, taking pride in, and ownership of, his business. The Old Man’s work was recognized by those around him. Whenever one would run into a employee or manager they were sure to point out what a good man he was and how they enjoyed working with him.

The Old Man has been active outside of the job as well. He worked with his church, at the Boys and Girls Club, and in various social and community functions. Again the refrain would ring out, “I really appreciate all your Old Man does for us.” He served with integrity wherever he went.

Somewhere along the way the Old Man became a person of deep and thoughtful faith in God. His beliefs are not merely intellectual, but manifest themselves in the way he treats others, spends his money and his time. The Old Man is one whose faith is manifested in his works.

His faith is shown in his character as well. I’ve never seen the Old Man lose his temper. Not when his sons acted stupidly, wrecked cars, ran up phone bills, or talked back to their parents. He’s never been one to push his children, or others, to do things his way, even though he knew better 99.9% of the time. The Old Man has only been known to become really grumpy when he’s discussing politics, ideologues, and Georgia Tech football.

TechTowerSignDespite his attempts to appear too mature for sports fanaticism, the Old Man loves the Yellow Jackets. He baptized his sons at Bobby Dodd stadium at an early age and they have remained tortured fans ever since. There is even a rumor that a flurry of curse words, shouted in jubilation, were emitted by a certain someone when the Jackets took down the hated Bulldogs in a football game last Fall.

I wish my Old Man an early happy birthday. If my life and my character come close to his, I will indeed call myself blessed.

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