By Jim Fannin
James Edward Fannin was born in poverty in the Appalachian Mountains of southeastern Kentucky. He ran four miles round-trip to school. Money was scarce. Even though his clothes were hand-me-downs, they were always pressed and clean. At 5’9” tall he was a giant among his peers by always exuding confidence and optimism. Good looks were his gift and he wore it well. Determination was his sidekick, as he grew into the man he would become. Later in his life, he became my father. Where he was born and raised makes me tear up when I think of his existence in those harsh conditions. However, my dad never looked back on his past as a handicap. He was my hero. Although I grew to be four inches taller, I always looked up to him. He never uttered a negative word that found my ears. He never gossiped. He never spread rumors. I never knew him to tell a lie. These things I learned from my father. Thanks Dad. My father worked multiple jobs to put my mom through college. He never complained. He even helped her make an A in trigonometry and this was without a high school education. How he figured it out, I’ll never know. We sat in the front row as my mom crossed the stage to receive her Masters degree in nursing. He was so proud. He was tireless in putting my mom through school. In fact, he was tireless in everything he did. I’ve always mirrored his work ethic. It has served me well. My father was brilliant. I have seen him finish the NY Times crossword puzzle in one sitting. Every space was filled in. All were correct. “How did you know the sun god was called Ra?” I would ask. His reply was, “you didn’t learn that in college?” He read a lot. There was always a book by my father’s nightstand. I know my mind was cultivated partly from his DNA and partly from witnessing his thirst for knowledge. Thanks Dad.
James Fannin wrote on a legal pad every day of his adult life. He was an uneducated wordsmith. My penmanship and fondness for the written word was his doing. A yellow legal pad is near me at all times. Writing for this magazine would have made him proud. Thank you, Dad. He threw a baseball with me every day the weather was nice. He was my biggest fan. His love for sports became my love. We listened to the University of Kentucky basketball games, Cincinnati Reds broadcasts and watched the Cleveland Browns every chance we could get. My first Major League Baseball game was with my father in old Crosley Field in Cincinnati. I love sports. It’s a passion. Sports became our life-long bond. Thank you for the gift of sports. Although he couldn’t afford to travel with me to tennis tournaments, he encouraged me to be the best I could be. He knew that it was my mind that would set me apart. His insight into the mental side of sports set me on a path that I still enjoy. He had read every book about and by the great Kentucky-born prophet and psychic, Edgar Cayce. Cayce has been called the Father of the New Age Movement.
My father turned me on to this thinking at an early age. Thank you for your unwavering inspiration. My father was a kind man. He was polite, gentle, and considerate. I never heard him raise his voice. I hope I have a little bit of those traits. Don’t get me wrong. My father was tough. He was hillbilly-tough. He fought seven professional fights and rode bulls for money in rodeos in Texas. He worked in the fist-fighting tough shipyards as a laborer in Galveston, Texas and Newport News, Virginia and he never backed down from a challenge. Never. I get that tenacity from him. The word “optimism,” which is both literally and figuratively at the center of the word S.C.O.R.E.®, was my father’s influence. In 1974 when my S.C.O.R.E.® Success System (thought management) was created, my father was the president of his local Optimist Club. Optimism was my only option, as the cornerstone of my program. Today, I always dress nice. I wear the best clothes I can find, as looking sharp is the only option. This is to honor my father, who was the best dressed man I’ve ever met. I hope I’m the man you believed I could become. Honor your Dad this Father’s Day. Acorns don’t fall far from the tree. Hug the tree on this special Sunday. All my earthly possessions would be discarded, if I could be with you one more day. I miss you very much and smile fondly when I think of you. I love you.
Your son, Jim