Monthly Archives: May 2013

Mr. Back-Up Plan

“Son, things in life will go bad. And while you can’t change that… you can have a back-up plan.”

—Bob Gomlicker

Today’s story is from Mike Gomlicker.

My name is Mike Gomlicker. My dad’s name is Bob. He won’t bore you with chatter, meaningless talk. Those words above were his best. They define who Dad is.

backup plan

Young combat pilot Bob Gomlicker

Air Force combat pilot. Commercial airline captain. My father held lives in his hands during those years. In my dad’s hands is a great place to be.
Emergency time? Cool & calm. Quick to react. Dad responds in a flash like bad was the plan. He’s told me stories. Things that happened. Fathers & sons; daughters & moms; innocent lives in his care.

But Dad thought ahead. Whatever went wrong, he knew what to do. While others relaxed and daydreamed before a long flight, Dad would go think, somewhere alone. READ MORE 

One More Day

“There are no answers… only choices.”


Today’s story is from Mike Stewart.

One more day. With your father. Your son. What would you give? I sat on the edge of Mark’s hospice bed, his hand in mine. I gently brushed the thin, wispy hair back from his forehead. “He’s gone,” the nurse whispered from behind. The words I had feared for five years.

One day at a time.

(l-r) Mark’s dad Mike , Mark, and his brother Mike

I have never understood why my son’s fate was to die young. I don’t expect that I will. My name is Mike Stewart. This is the story of Mark. He was my son.

So bright, funny. A regular comedian, and smart as a whip. Successful… respected in his professional career. Mark was that one person in anyone’s life… that one person who makes you believe, who gives you hope, who pulls you through.

But cancer doesn’t discriminate. The diagnosis was real. A parent’s worse fear. Not Mark. Please God, anything but this. Don’t take one of my kids. But I had to be strong for my son. Together, we had to beat this thing. But I was terrified, as any father would be. READ MORE 

Conway Twitty’s Son Had Three Dads

“I’m often asked what it’s like to be Conway Twitty’s son.”

—Michael Twitty

Today’s story is from Michael Twitty.

Country music icon. Thousands of performances. Millions of fans. Folks look at me with pity or awe. Awe, because I’m a Twitty, after all. Pity, because everyone knows famous musicians don’t have much time for their kids. It’s true.


Young Michael with granddad Papaw

Meetings. Practices. Recording. Interviews. Touring. Dad was constantly on the road. I didn’t see him a lot growing up. It’s what he was. It’s what he was born to be.

But don’t feel sorry for me. Growing up, I had three dads — not one. Papaw (Dalton Floyd Jenkins), my granddad, he was a steamboat captain on the mighty Mississippi. My uncle Howard was also there for me. And Conway, my natural dad.

When Dad was on tour, he would call every day. But he arranged more than a chat on the line. When Dad was away, I had Uncle Howard and Papaw for play. READ MORE 

“Do Better,” Said Dad

Business was dismal. Competition tough. Orders slowed. References led to dead ends.

Today’s story is from Annette Barnard.

I considered my assets. It wasn’t my product — I offered the best. But my marketing department… well, it needed some help.


Annette and her father, Walter A. Williamson

1962. My name is Annette. I was 12. My enterprise? Baby-sitting. Determined to rise to the top, I needed an edge.

I went to my father. I had a thought. “Dad, can I use your typewriter?” I asked. “Go for it,” he said. “But make it great.”

I typed away. A draft emerged. Not my best, but it would do. An advertisement of sorts; I’d plaster the neighborhood. “Dad, can I use your mimeograph machine?” I asked (this was before the days of printers). Again, my Dad complied. “Just make it shine,” he said. READ MORE 

Daddies Die, But They Never Go Away

His life was cut short in ’93 at just 59.
Harold Lloyd Jenkins shaped music history.

Never heard of him? Yes you have. His stage name… Conway Twitty.

Conway Twitty son Michael Twitty talks about Dad — an exclusive interview with Savvy Dad.

Conway reigned supreme in country music with fifty-five consecutive number one records. He played with Elvis, Johnny Cash and other legends at Sun Studios.

father and son

Michael Twitty with his father, Conway Twitty

He reached into outer space when his famous hit “Hello Darlin” was broadcast between American and Russian astronauts—a gesture of international good will.

But this is not about Conway, the star. It’s about Conway the Dad. Savvy Dad interviewed Conway’s son, Michael Twitty (a stage name too — Michael was born Michael Lloyd Jenkins).

We learned “That’s My Job” — a song about fathers, the impressions they leave, the love they bequeath — was more than a hit song. It’s family history, one of Michael’s best memories of Dad.

Chicago Bears Time

“Arrive on time and you start from behind.”

Today’s story is from Chris Neck.

My daughter’s soccer team. The Chicago Bears. What do they have in common? My daughter wanted to know.

Chicago Bears Time

Tommy Neck (41) in action with Chicago Bears

“Dad,” said GiGe. “Soccer practice starts at 3. When mom takes me, we get there on time. When you take me, we get there at 2:40. Why?”

“Mom’s on the clock most people use,” I said. “Me — I’m on Chicago Bears time.”

GiGe knew her grandpa — my dad — played for the Bears. He was a star. Tommy Neck. Cornerback & Safety. The invincible Chicago Bears.

1962. His rookie year. Practice. The first day. A dream for most athletes, a dream for most men. READ MORE 

Mom’s Second Life — A Second Chance

She almost died. That’s why she lived.

Today’s story is from Yonsenia White.

Arnetta White. My mother. Born in poverty. The youngest of twelve. She faced racism, sexism and segregation. And a troubled marriage, as well.

Mom was our rock.

Kevin (standing left), Keith (seated), Mrs. Arnetta White, Mr. Henry White (Yon’s father), Me (infant)

After Dad left, Mom filled both parenting roles. She shined at both. We rarely felt an absence of dad.

But she never complained. Her strength of character and faith in God got us all through some difficult times. Her heart was so big, her effort so great; she made many sacrifices for us. In all of my life, I‘ve seen Mom cry only twice.

She raised my brothers and me on a housekeeper’s salary. Her venue each day: twenty-some rooms on a nursing home floor. Climbing ladders. Changing curtains. Mopping floors. Removing trash. For anyone—especially a heavyset woman of 60 — backbreaking work.

Then it happened. Mom suddenly became tired, light-headed, but wanted to finish her housekeeping duties. When she got home, she felt a lot worse. My brother rushed her to the hospital. READ MORE