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Dad’s steady hand provides guidance through life, work

They come around every year, but in reality, individually, theyonly come around once in a lifetime. Birthdays, I am talking about,and in this case a very big one in the Jacobs’ family – 90 yearsyoung.

It was in this day in 1918 that Charles R. Jacobs first appearedon this earth, born in Chicago – the youngest child of grandparentsI have always heard about, but never knew. My Aunt Lucy, at 97, isstill keeping a watchful eye over her little brother from her homein Connecticut.

Earlier today we celebrated his birthday with a houseful of hisfriends – friends he has known for many of his 50 years living herein Brookhaven.

It was in November of 1958 that he packed up our family in Floridaand moved the five of us into a cramped room at Della’s Motel. Itwas that day that new life was injected into a failing semiweeklynewspaper; a new community was adopted as home; and life-longfriendships made.

Like my brothers, I spent many an hour at the newspaper, for it wasour second home due to the long hours and late deadlines that comewith the newspaper business. It was there that I watched both myfather and mother tirelessly put in untold hours writing copy,taking photographs, selling advertising, pushing subscriptions andoverseeing the cumbersome process in those days of producing anewspaper two times a week.

Squeezed somewhere in that was time for my brothers and me -boating, hunting and fishing, coaching my little league baseballteams and Pee Wee basketball teams. Doing the things fathersdo.

It was from him that I learned the importance of a communitynewspaper and the value of standing up for what is right andagainst what is wrong. I watched as he took unpopular editorialstands in the newspaper — because it was the proper thing to do.It was he who taught me the necessity of fairness, pushing forstrong community government and support for quality local schools.The dividends of such, he would say, will pay us back in a bettercommunity for everyone.

In my early professional years he taught me the important lesson ofhow to deal with adversity. The newspaper business gives one manysuch opportunities and in very public ways. His was always thesteady hand when I found those opportunities.

Never one to give up, he refused to do so when he was younger andtoday still likes to mow his grass, haul his firewood and work inhis woodworking shop. His persistence, while sometimes frustrating,is inspirational to his granddaughters and me.

The most important lesson he has shared with me, however, is how tobe a father.

Thanks, Dad.

Happy Birthday!

Write to Bill Jacobs at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602, orsend e-mail to bjacobs@dailyleader.com.