Monday was my grandfather’s birthday. I tried to ask him how old he is but any phone conversation lasting longer than 30 seconds with him is a huge victory so there just wasn’t time in the 29 seconds I had before he told me thanks for calling and hung up. Regardless of the fact that he’s not a phone person, he is still a hero in so many ways.
Growing up I hated having what I saw as a boy’s name. I was even convinced for awhile that I was secretly adopted because my sisters all had lovely feminine names.
Yet my name was Bobbie Jo. Two male names after each of my grandfathers, Bobby and Joseph. Worse than one corny female name, or so I thought.
But when my grandfather learned about my adoption theory he got in his car that day and drove the 3 hours to our house to meet me there after school. We took a walk up the street and he told me all about his life and his legacy and most importantly we talked about his name, my name. The same name because I was named after him. I still remember how the street looked and the sandy soil that littered the curb as we walked.
He told me about the qualities that he saw in me that reminded him of himself. He told me about how he had to be an overcomer in his life to survive the Great Depression, extreme poverty and the numerous wars he had served in. Then he told me that I was also an overcomer because of a bad speech impediment that I had as a young child.
And I came to love my name because I love the man that I was named after. A man that served his country and saw things so horrible that he won’t speak of them. A man that participated in the Berlin Air Drop to bring food to Berlin during the war. A man that came out of extreme poverty and made a great life for his family. A man that never went to jr. high or even high school because he had to work but later became and aeronautical engineer and helped design many of the jets that still fly today. A man that is an American Hero and my hero.
He’s given me an amazing legacy to follow.
This year I made it my goal to start public speaking because I am an overcomer. I am no longer bound by a speech impediment. I might talk funny at times but I’ll just blame my deep east Texas accent and keep on going.
I was invited twice this year to speak and now I’ll be on stage again in a few short weeks for Blog Elevated Conference.
I can never be an American Hero or an Aeronautical Engineer (I can bedazzle a plane if they let me) but I will continue the legacy that he set forth.
I will be amazing because my name is Bobbie and so is my hero’s.