Column: I hope to shine as bright as my dad in his hometown

Published 7:20 am Sunday, June 19, 2022

Every person carves his spot and fills the hole with light, and I pray someday I might light as bright as he.” – Conway Twitty

This Fathers Day I have the honor and privilege to work and live in my father’s hometown. As a kid, I always dreamed of living in Brookhaven. I appreciate the friendly people here and the close knit community of a small town. 

My favorite jersey growing up was his mesh Moose Lodge jersey with the No. 3 on the back of it. I could remember visiting my grandparents on Jaci Drive. Their neighbors would call me Little Mark because I looked so much like my dad.

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For a long time, I had a laminated article from The Daily Leader about the Purple Passion College Flag Football team that went all the way to the national championship held in the Super Dome some time in the early ’90s. 

My dad told me they went and played in a qualifying tournament in Hattiesburg to make sure the Ole Miss and USM teams missed out. He was a true Bulldog, I might add.

It is fitting I followed in his footsteps to Mississippi State University and fell in love with the outdoors there.

It has always been exciting to meet the people who grew up with my dad or knew him when he was younger. While he left about 26 years ago, I now return to his stomping grounds. 

Of course it is challenging to be about seven hours away from my dad. I miss watching sports with him; playing sports with him; and just talking about anything. I cherish our phone calls and our visits. 

In part, it was my parents who prepared me to take on the world as an independent adult, to them I’m grateful.

To my Dad, I’m thankful for how he showed his love for me. There has never been a doubt in my mind if he loved me or not. While he may not be there with me when I catch that big bass, or the day I bag my first gobbler or buck, I know he will be the first one I call. 

Perhaps the greatest lesson my father ever taught me was about Our Father’s Love. He shared at an Upward Basketball camp when I was in second grade about how he suffered an injury in high school and was on crutches for the summer. The Lord used my dad’s down time to call him in. 

How great is our Father’s love. It is unconditional, everlasting, forgiving and strong. I think that is where my dad’s love comes from. He is a reflection of the greatest love of all. 

I hope I’m a reflection of both my earthly father and my heavenly Father.

This Sunday make sure to call your dad if you still can and let him know you love him. I know I will, and I know I’ll be listening to “That’s My Job,” by Conway Twitty at some point this weekend. I’ll be carving my spot in Brookhaven and I hope to shine as bright as he.

Hunter Cloud is a digital content producer and reporter working with The Daily Leader. Email him at