Soulful 7 with John, Johnny, Duke, Dad
My dad continues to be a larger-than-life force in my life. When he walks into any room, be it a courtroom or the family kitchen at Buttermoon Farm, you are instantly drawn into his orbit. My dad radiates remarkable strength and endless charisma. And you can count on him to be the life of the party! He is the quintessential “patriarch” of our family: married to my mom for over 48 years, father of six daughters, and a fun-loving grandfather to 24. If ever anyone, not just my five sisters and I, but anyone in our community in South Carolina runs into a problem, the first person we all call is John White! Many think him a superhero. Right now, with his lawyer cape on, he is taking down the Goliath pharmaceutical companies largely responsible for our country’s opiod crisis. They should be afraid!
Growing up, in word, act and deed he modeled for us that family, faith, a strong work ethic, and contributing to the greater good was the recipe for a meaningful life. For my fourth grade elementary talent show, he dressed up in tails and a top hat and serenaded his six daughters with Maurice Chevalier’s, Thank Heaven for Little Girls, to a standing ovation. I share this because first, I don’t think my dad is afraid of anything! More importantly, regardless of his professional success as a lawyer, nothing holds a candle to his devotion to his six daughters. You only have to meet one of my remarkable sisters Mahaley, Mary Carlisle, Belle, Harrison, or Ramsey to know he excelled in the role of father!
Nobody’s fooling, my dad ran a tight ship when we were growing up (my friends called him “General Johnny”)! But always his intent was to raise six women who would meet the world with courage, resilience, and a strong faith. My dad has always been a big fan of John Wayne, the quintessential “cowboy hero.” He even took his grandfather name, “Duke,” in his honor! John Wayne famously said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” My dad lives this wisdom in spades!
The secret to my dad’s success as a lawyer, dad and human being is his work ethic, attention to details, Baptist faith, remarkably large and generous heart, and commitment to giving back! Growing up, my dad could have told you the shoe and dress size for each of his girls. He has impeccable taste and often bought our clothes. (Thankfully, he continues to enjoy buying his girls shoes, handbags and jewelry to this day!) My dad never missed a tennis match. When I made a D in Chemistry in high school, he marched me up to Professor Jefford’s class at 7 am and said, “Farrell will come every morning until she brings her grade up to an A! He made sure he was home for dinner at night, and had us at church every Sunday! My dad was, and continues to be in the sacred thick of our lives,…..because we want him to be!
We filmed this memorable Soulful 7 Conversation in the first week of Corona Quarantine on the back porch of my childhood home at Buttermoon Farm. As you will see, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! I have my dad to thank for my deep-held belief that anything is possible with hard work, passion and heart! Because of him, family and faith are my touchstone. But most importantly, he gifted me with a joy of food. It’s our love language. There is nothing better than good food, lots of laughter and joy found around the family table! He is a one of a kind! A man of great faith, remarkable love, and a whole lot of fun!
Happy Father’s Day!
P.S. I am signing off for the Summer! I am looking forward to some sweet adventures with my family!