Today is my grandfather’s birthday. While our birthdays are a day apart, we always celebrated together. My mother has always joked that she tried very hard to have me on his birthday, but I was bound and determined – just like him – to have my own day. Even still, we were tied together in celebration as September babies – stubborn, loyal, driven and energetic.
On this day, my mother and I wanted to look back on our favorite “Georgie-wisdoms” – slogans, words and thoughts he held to and shared with us throughout our lives. Below, you’ll find just a snippet of his famous tag lines, and my mother’s memories surrounding each of them.
All work is honorable.
After graduating from the orphanage, Dad was brought to the nearest town, which was Lexington, with $5 in his pocket. The first job he was offered had a less than desirable reputation. He went to the superintendent of the orphanage, Mr. Bruton, and asked if he would be embarrassed for my dad to have such a job. Mr. Burton replied, “Eddie, all work is honorable. Do your best and do it to the glory of God.” My dad’s sincere appreciation for each and every job people do at National and elsewhere originated here. He took the job. He became the manager, and he started his own company – National – a few years later.
Isn’t life great? I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Each morning, Dad came to my office and shared this one saying. He believed that every day was a celebration and a gift to be opened. He was so grateful for every single one. Simple as that.
Treat every customer as if she was our only customer.
This is the 65th anniversary of National – and this phrase has been our mission statement since inception. Dad believed that if we gave full attention to detail to every item we sold, and treated each person as if she was the only person we would ever have the opportunity to serve, then everything else in business would take care of itself.
Age is a number. It means nothing.
Dad was a health advocate long before it was in vogue. He ate “farm to table” before it was a trend and grew a lot of it from his farming knowledge gained at the orphanage. He got up every morning at 5:00 a.m., ran several miles, swam for an hour, enjoyed racing cars, and worked full time well into his 80s.
We’ve been blessed to be a blessing.
Dad always said one of his greatest blessings was being brought to the children’s home in Lexington at his parents’ death when he was nine years of age. He never understood why “important” business people took an interest in him, mentored him and invested such time in an orphaned boy.
When he enjoyed success in business, he believed he had been blessed to be a blessing. He made good on that by leaving a legacy of encouragement, inspiration and philanthropy that has impacted his community forever.
On this day, my grandfather’s birthday, I hope you find encouragement and inspiration in one or more of these phrases and carry on his joy and cheer through your own day today!