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To me, Paul has all the right traits

Paul, at least to me, seemed to know everybody and everybody knew him.
Whether it was going to a restaurant; picking up groceries at the supermarket; or just taking trash off to the local dump, Paul would always run into a person he recognized. That individual could be one from Paul’s childhood; a past or present fellow coworker; or maybe a friend of a friend. No matter the circumstance, Paul was acquainted with many – and not just by face, but by name.
When Paul and the array of individuals would meet, Paul did not discuss international relations; technological advancements; or political platforms. Nope. It was the basic “how have you been?” “how’s your family?” or possibly a small talk version about whatever the weather is doing.
No matter if the conversation was instantaneous as it lasted a few seconds, or the verbal give-and-take instead went on for a couple minutes, the result was always the same. The person who spoke with Paul left with a smile. Paul came into each discussion with a smile and the other individual would end those talks with a likewise smile. Paul’s smile is contagious in a good medicine kind of way.
I know that grin played a huge role in Paul wedding his wife and staying married to her for 53 years until her passing. But that certainly wasn’t the only aspect that attracted and kept Mattie with Paul. Along with other traits, she loved him for his kindness, his hard-working attitude, and his solid belief in the Lord.
The characteristics Mattie saw in Paul were clearly evident to each and every person who met him.
Paul worked long hours in various textile plants during his life. He showed up to his place of employment on time, gave his all throughout the day, and always did so with a pleasant disposition. He was continuously willing to help and collaborate with others. He believed that was the right thing to do and people respected him for it.
His giving of himself did not end when Paul clocked out from his job. He would come home to assist with chores around the house; help his wife nurture their children; and provide a quality example of what a husband and father should be.
Sometimes he would even be able to get at least one of his sons to help out a little too.
If Paul wasn’t caring for his own yard, he was cleaning the cemetery. And if he wasn’t doing that, he was at his church. He was at the church a lot – be it for Sunday morning, Sunday evening, or Wednesday night services. Paul also would be at the church to help get it ready for the upcoming services. Now at the age of 80, he remains one of the church’s deacons.
Paul cares for others and they know it and they love him. He certainly has qualities people should want to emulate – and being genuine is one at the top of the list.
When Paul came down from the north Georgia city of Rome to visit with me during Thanksgiving, the two of us went over to Statesboro to eat at a restaurant. As we waited for an open table, I had five patrons of that eatery greet me with, “Hi Enoch. How are you?” And Statesboro isn’t even “my” town. My town is Sylvania.
Upon witnessing this string of well-wishers toward me, Paul said with a laugh, “You’re like me. Everybody seems to know you and this isn’t where you live.”
All I did on the outside was grin a little grin, but on the inside I was beaming with glee.
People call Paul “Paul.” As for me, I call Paul “Dad.”
Dad, I have not excelled to your level of awesomeness, but I may be headed in the right direction. Happy Father’s Day and thanks for you being you.

Enoch Autry is the managing editor of the Sylvania Telephone.