By Gary J. Groman, a.k.a. The Ole Seagull
In 2015, when I thought of interviewing a Branson entertainer about their Father in honor of Father’s Day, the first thing that came to mind was talking to Jimmy Osmond about his dad, George. I saw my first Osmond Brother’s show about 25 years ago. As they introduced their Mother and Father to the audience, I was impressed with the obvious affection and respect they had for their parents.
At intermission, I met George for the first time. I asked him, “Amid all of their fame, how have you have managed to engender this type of respect and honor?” That question led to a relationship that I will cherish into eternity. The answer to that question will be evident in the responses that follow.
Jimmy Osmond took time from his busy schedule for an interview about his Father. He shared some thoughts and remembrances about what an amazing Father he had, and the influence his Father had, not only on his career but also on his life and that of the Osmond family. The interview was conducted by the Ole Seagull (TOSG) with Jimmy (JO), using a “Q & A” format. Its purpose was to honor fathers on Father’s Day by sharing an example of a father who truly exemplified the highest standards of what “Fatherhood” means.
TOSG: What one word describes what your Father meant to you?
TOSG: Why that word?
JO: That’s what he stood for in everything he did. I never saw my dad swear in all my years, and I never saw him take a drink. He would say, “Choose the right, and let the consequence follow.” And he did. He was always honest in his business dealings even when there was an easier way.
TOSG: What is the one thing your Father said to you that has had the most influence on your life?
JO: “Pour it on, son.” Whenever I think about my daddy, I think about “pour it on,” which meant “give it your all and keep going.” I remember so many times when I did not want to keep going, and I’d have that in the back of my brain, “Pour it on.” Even when we buried my dad, all I could feel was him saying, “Pour it on.”
TOSG: What’s your fondest memory of something you and your dad shared privately?
JO: I can “yodel whistle” as could my dad. We had a ranch, and since I was the youngest, I always had to go with him to the ranch. As we traveled to and from the ranch, we would whistle all the way up there and all the way back. Every night before we went to bed, he would say his prayers with me and count his blessings, which was each one of his kids. He would say, “I am only as strong as my weakest child,” which was pretty cool.
TOSG: What was one of his characteristics that you admired the most?
JO: How he loved us all the same.
TOSG: What’s your fondest memory of something your whole family shared with your Father?
JO: I think the best times ended up being the hardest times. We had a saying, “Tragedy plus time equals humor, and we’d laugh about it someday.” We went through a lot of hard times, and I look back now on how he was able to be stoic in those moments and pull us together. We do laugh at those struggles because when our mettle has been tested, it’s been the best of times.
TOSG: What was one of the most important things he taught you?
JO: He was an amazing man. He didn’t teach me how to live; he showed me how to live.
TOSG: You guys were famous at a relatively young age. How did he help keep things in perspective from a family point of view?
JO: It was always, “One for all.” It didn’t make any difference who was out front as long as it was an Osmond, and we were to support each other. We had a career that wasn’t as narcissistic as that of a lot of people in show business because we were part of a team, and it wasn’t just about us individually. I was the first one in our family to record and have a hit record. I remember going to my dad and saying, “Hey dad, I’m number one, I have a Gold Record. Isn’t that cool?” We owned an apartment complex at the time. He looked at me and handed me a stick with a poker on the end of it, and said, “Go pick up the trash son. Do something valuable.” You’d think that was hard, but he always had a way of keeping me in perspective.
Jimmy pointed out that they always prayed before every show because his dad wanted them to keep the right perspective. He said, “We always felt when we were on stage that we had a responsibility to not only entertain people and give them their money’s worth but to bring God into our productions and to realize where we get our blessings from. Father always had a mission about him. It wasn’t necessarily to preach our religion but just to share Christianity, love, and family.”
This column was originally written for Father’s Day of 2015. However, its message of a son’s love for his Father, and a Father’s for his children, is timeless. Happy Father’s Day!