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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Father’s Day is a Day of Love and Appreciation

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We celebrate Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June…often times, that is just our routine each year. We visit our families and celebrate our father’s love and support that they have shown over the years of our lifetimes. But just as I said in last month’s tribute to our mothers, I wonder if it is something I have taken for granted all of these years. If I did, it was certainly unintentional, but something that is deeply regrettable.

We all have our family stories. With the ever-changing configuration of the nuclear family in our society, more and more of us have been influenced by fathers who were not our biological fathers.

I will not go into detail, but I will say that is the case in my family. The person whom I love and identify as my father has been in my life for a little more than 40 years. He married my mother in the 80s and has been a wonderful husband to her ever since. He has been the rock of stability and support for her and everyone in our family, and that includes me. Like my mother, he has always been there for me, even when he questioned or didn’t understand my actions or decisions throughout the course of my life. I have witnessed over and over again his unconditional love for my mother, and that has meant more to me than anything. But he has also shown that love and support for me, and I am so lucky that he came into my life.

My father, Duane Osam, is truly an amazing man, and is the kind of man that I have aspired to be, although in many respects, I could never measure up to be. A veteran of the United States Navy during World War II, a successful professional in the job place as a dairy plant manager, he has applied the same principles of discipline, good decision-making, love, and support in the job place that he has in his family. A graduate of Iowa State University in dairy industry management, he is very intelligent and knows his business. He carried great responsibility as part of the executive management at Coleman Dairy in Little Rock for most of his career and was so sought by the Coleman family that he was recruited and brought to Arkansas from Colorado to take over the plant management for the family in Little Rock. His advice was sought and taken with great credibility, and he was dedicated to the company’s success by working long, irregular hours if needed to keep things at the plant running smoothly.

But as much as I have admired him for his service to our nation and to his career, it is his unwavering love for my mother and for me that has meant the most to me. And now, both he and my mother find themselves in perhaps the most challenging time period of their adult lives and marriage. As I have shared with our readers over the past few months, they are rebuilding their lives from having lost their home in the Little Rock tornado in March, as well as having contracted the COVID virus immediately after the storm. Their lives are upside down, but, as I said with my mother’s reference in the Mother’s Day story, he and my mother are strong, and they will get through the challenges that they are currently facing. Duane is in his mid-90s, and for a lot of people, the challenges that face him at his age might be unsurmountable. But not him. I would put his mental capacity up against anyone at any age, and his fortitude and mental toughness as well. Together, he and my mom will make it, and that is just one of a million reasons why I love them both so much.

So, to Mr. Duane Osam, I want to say thank you for all the things you have done for me. You came into my life at a time when I had my own challenges, and you were there for me then and through all of the other times that happened after that time. I cannot thank you enough for being the loving and supportive husband to my mother that you are. And for those reasons, I just can’t find the words to adequately describe my love and appreciation for you.

So, in your way of being succinct and to the point, I will just say, thank you. Thank you for everything you have ever done for me, and thank you for the love you have shown to both my mother and me.

To all of our readers out there, I want to wish you all a very Happy Father’s Day, enjoying the day with this very special person in all of your lives.

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Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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