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Yesteryear Echoes: A Father's Day tribute to 'Father Osmond,' a father's father

This timeless 2015 Father’s Day column proclaims a son’s love for his father and a father’s love for his children. Happy Father’s Day!

 

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. Over two decades ago, as I sat in my first Osmond show, I was enormously impressed with the obvious affection and respect the Osmond Brothers had for their parents.

 

At intermission, I met George for the first time. I asked him, “Amid all of their fame, how have you managed to maintain your family and 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.

 

Recently [April 2015], Jimmy Osmond, the new owner of the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre, took time from his busy schedule of performances and managing the shows appearing at the theatre for an interview to share some thoughts and remembrances about what an amazing father he had, and the influence his Father had, not only on his career but on his life and that of the Osmond family. This interview by The Ole Seagull (TOSG) with Jimmy (JO) is 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?

JO: Integrity.

 

 

TOSG: Why that word?

JO: That’s what he stood for in everything he did. In all my years, I never saw my dad swear, and I never saw my dad 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 influenced your life most?

JO: “Pour it on, son.” Whenever I think about my daddy, I think about “pour it on,” which means “give it your all and keep going.” I remember so many times in my life 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 whistled 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 was one of the most important things he taught you?

JO: He was a fantastic 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 many people in show business because we were part of a team, and it wasn’t just about us individually. I was the first 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?” He looked at me and handed me a stick with a poker on the end of it. We owned an apartment complex then 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 said they always prayed before every show because his dad wanted them to keep the proper 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.”

 

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