I'm posting this today, because it's what would have been my dad's 81st birthday.
I was doing some serious cleaning and purging this week and found the notes to what I said at my dad's funeral about him.
Today We Celebrate a Life Well Lived: Jacki Allen Jones (written and spoken in tribute at the homegoing service for Eugene Allen)
Dad was a funny guy and often used humor to lighten a dark moment. I remember the first time I saw him break his “Allens don’t cry” rule at his grandfather’s funeral.
When I questioned him about it later that day, he explained that it was warm in the church and he was sweating from the eyeballs.
Whenever he’d say, “I remember the time...” we’d shake our heads and respond “oh no! Not again!” because we new there was an outlandish tale to follow. To hear him tell it, he had walked on the moon and had taught Hank Aaron how to swing a bat.
The day we moved Dad to Texas in August of 2003 could have been a very somber day, but he chose to make if fun. We laughed and joked all day long. He had a hard time accepting help from others so I advised him to just smile and say “Thank You”. All day, he would over emphasize that smile with a thank you and look over at me as he did it to make sure I was paying attention.
My Dad taught me some things that I couldn’t really appreciate until I became an adult.
I learned to persevere. One of my earliest memories was of a sunny afternoon when I was about 3. My dad was determined to teach me to tie my shoes. I remember sitting there for what seemed like forever when all I really wanted was to do was join the other kids playing outside. Most of all I remember the victorious feeling I had when I did indeed master that skill that afternoon.
I learned to be concerned about the world around me. While other children played outside, he made us watch the entire funeral for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr on TV. Although we were very young (I was only 5), At the time we didn’t like it, but
he emphasized the historical importance of that event. I appreciate that now.
I learned to be faithful and keep your promises. He did what he said he was going to do and was always on time. In fact, he was always 10 minutes early.
I learned to treat others the way I wanted to be treated. The Golden Rule was ingrained in my brain by him and he lived it and set an example for us.
I learned diligence. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Here at Janes, he was our Junior Choir and Chancel choir director. I sang with him from age 8 until I graduated high school. We practiced to perfection and performed our songs from memory. I still remember a lot of the songs to this day. I’ve been a part of many choral programs since then and I quickly realized that not every choir director is as diligent. He set a very high standard.
Eugene Alonzo Allen left a mark on this world that won’t soon be forgotten. With 5 daughters, 15 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren, his legacy will live on.