Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Martin: He Paid it Forward

Arthur Martin175Ever heard the term "pay it forward?" Do for others because someone did for you.

A few questions. Does God have a plan or are we just floating in the wind?

The best selling author, Max Lucado, said, "When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage to sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not.

What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn't they matter most now?"

If I said to you investing $5 in 1934 would make a great inheritance for generations to come would you have done it?

In 1934 there was a room full of orphans in Shreveport, Louisiana. Arthur and Clara Martin decided to try to get a baby. How do you choose, which baby? One little baby boy out of the whole room smiled at them so they chose him. For a $5 investment they got this little boy. A.D. grew up in Evergreen. He often bragged to us to do good in school after all he was sixth in his class. Only later as Art, David and I got older did we find out there were only 6 in his class. He had such devotion, loyalty and honesty.

In November 1956 he and mom got married. He promised her forever and for 57 years , he continued to pay it forward for those around him and put others above him.
Through the years he worked hard in the hayfield, drove school buses, the kids loved him. I remember him hitting the large hill at Richardson so everyone in the back seats would fly up and almost hit their heads on the ceiling. His honesty showed to us. Paying it forward.

The time he volunteered and took the Boy Scouts on a 50 mile canoe trip. Some black members in Minden started a church and needed help preaching so he went and preached the Lords Word to them. I could go on and on. Even during my recent illness, while I was battling cancer, he would say "I wish there was someway it could be me instead of you." Wanting to take my pain away just like our heavenly Father would love to take our pain away because of his love for us.

He continue to pay it forward by stepping in as a father to his niece, Marilyn Dunn-Morgan, of Haynesville, after her father died forty-five years ago. She became the daughter that A.D. and Charlotte needed.

Relationships were important to him. If he had to miss the Evergreen Breakfast Club on Saturday his day just wasn't right. He longed for those friendships.

After work from the Post Office he and Jimmy Barnette would often sit and talk around a cup of coffee for hours at our house on Constable Street. His loyalty, his honest word, being a straight shooter with people was important to him. But most important to him was his wife and family. A saying a friend sent me was, "The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." That he did for fifty-seven and one half years. He was always more concerned for her than himself.

Another saying: "The greatest tribute a man can hope for is to be called a good father by his children, a good husband by his wife, a good son by his parents, a good friend by his friends, a good man by all others and a faithful servant by the Lord."

THIS WAS HIS JOURNEY: All these sum up the life of A.D., my Dad. But what about us left behind? The past few years I would kid with Dad about he ought to just go ahead and give me our inheritance. He would laugh and say well you can have it if you can find it cause he didn't know what he had done with it.

Well while he was a simple man that always provided for us he didn't accumulate a great fortune. Or did he? He never much ever wanted to leave Evergreen, but he left us a great inheritance. He paid it forward for us. They have a sign in their house: "Because two people fell in love."

He sometimes mentioned to me that $5 and blind date had produced a great offspring. He often mentioned all the children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren that meant everything to him.

While it may not be money, that $5 investment back in 1934 is worth more now than anyone can imagine. It can be lost but it can't be stolen, only I can choose to lose it. I found my inheritance in the honorable family name he built for me, the character he instilled in us, the example of how to treat your wife and children and friends, Something to pass on to our future generations, a strong work ethic, to be honest, devoted and true to your word. Always look for ways to put others especially your family above yourself.

Have fun along the way. Smile. It's a good day. I can say Jesus and DAD invested in me.

Because of his life I am richly blessed. I have an inheritance that can't be bought with money, can't be stolen while here on this earth and thereafter and a clear vision to receive God's inheritance.

Thanks for your journey Dad.

Written by Carlos Martin






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