I was thinking again today about some different people who helped me along the way in my life’s journey. I will never forget Mr. Thompson for all his involvement in my life.
It was Alex Haley the author of Roots who kept a picture in his office of a turtle sitting on top of a fence. He kept it there to remind him of a lesson he had learned many years before: “If you see a turtle sitting on a fence post, you know he had some help in getting there.”
Mr. Thompson was the superintendent of Howe Independent School District for as long as I can remember. At least for the number of years that I attended. I have many wonderful memories of growing up in Howe, Texas, and attending Howe Public Schools. To be quite honest the memories at present seem to be better than the actual experience did. I am sure that has to do with age and maturity.
Howe, Texas is located 8 miles south of Sherman, Texas on Highway 75. I remember when the population was less than 1,000. My graduating class only had 30 students. As you can see it was a small school in a small Texas town.
His full name was Charles Thompson, Charlie that is, but we dare not be heard ever calling him that. He was a very stoic man but was considered a friend by all the students. I think it was because he believed in people and made a point of saying and doing things to remind them constantly that he really cared about them. He also taught Algebra. I remember being overwhelmed when I first saw letters and numbers in the same problem. It was the grace of the Lord and the mercy of Mr. Thompson that I ever made it through that class.
I also remember the time when a few of us boys got in trouble on school time with the local merchants and he went to bat for us and said we were good boys and thought we deserved another chance.
It is one thing to care about people, it is quite another thing to treat them like a son. My dad was a traveling preacher for much of his life. Mom and we children attended the First Baptist Church where Mr. Thompson was a deacon. I will never forget him asking me if I would go with him to a Father and Son event being sponsored by the church. He made a difficult time in my life a little easier.
A few years later, I decided to visit him. I just felt like I needed to go out of my way and say Thank You for what he meant to me and all he had done for me.
Life today wouldn’t be the same without the many Mr. Thompsons in my life. It might be good for us from time to time to hit pause and think about someone who helped us along the way and say a prayer of gratitude for them.