Some of you may have heard that my Daddy’s health has been very fragile since his open heart surgery a few years ago… he just never really recovered from that battle… early this morning, Jack Seamans quietly left this earth and passed over the threshold he so enjoyed singing about… that chilly Jordan, as he would probably put it.
I can imagine him spending his first day in heaven putting together a scrap-iron quartet somewhere up there… and finding an old Gibson cutaway guitar over in the corner… strumming out a G chord, just like the old Chuck Wagon Gang songs used to kick off, and then launching into a gospel hymn… something like Farther Along or Where Could I Go. And everybody that’s anywhere near that cloud of witnesses joining along. Nobody ever enjoyed singing a gospel song more than Jack Seamans. Heaven’s music will be alot sweeter after today.
The funeral service will be Thursday morning at 11 am at Glendale Baptist Church… all my brothers and sisters and I will sing some of his favorite hymns in the service… the preacher will say some kind words about a life well lived… the grandsons, my five boys and their cousins, will carry him to his final resting place there in the local country cemetery. I can imagine the stories that will be told of how he touched lives and I can already sense the love and comfort of all the family and friends that will come to pay their final respects to a man they all respected very much.
Many memories come to my mind as I write out these words… mostly very intimate things like his toothy grin and his big hands… how he would hold up those fists and call them “Arkansas haymakers”… and the way he clapped those rough hands together in that silly double-clapping thing he did… or always breaking the G-string on his Gibson because he strummed it so hard.
Then there are special moments we shared… like the night out on the porch of our trailer house on Dawson’s Lake when I was about 12… he blew warm Camel cigarette smoke into my ears to soothe an ear infection… and it worked! Or the time he sat at the dinner table in our home and explained to the family that things were going to be a bit tight around there for a while because he was starting over from scratch with A-Tex Furniture… and how he and mom worked sun-up to sun-down for the next several months to pull us through it. Then I remember how he would always warn us about that same spot in the highway every time we headed home from the country, or how he seemed to know somebody every where we went. And there was something special about the way he always responded when I went to him with some kind of dilemma, which was a fairly regular occurence for me… he always had a “been there and done that” story of his own and it always calmed my troubled spirit to know he could relate.
My strongest memory of Daddy is the way he thrived on singing and entertaining folks. I’m so thankful the Lord gave me the opportunity to tag along with my Daddy and watch him entertain folks with that Gibson cutaway and toothy grin, belting out songs with his incredible vocal range and winsome disposition. Jack Seamans was everybody’s friend and when he sang and played, the whole world listened… or at least, that’s the way it seemed to me. I’m so thankful that he imparted to me that same love for entertaining and ministering to people’s hearts with a song… anything I’ve ever or will ever accomplish in the ministry of music will be simply due to those nights I spent as his wing man, strumming along and trying to find a harmony part.
We haven’t lost him… because we know exactly where he is. Jack Seamans was right with God. He made that clear any time the subject of salvation was brought up. The night I got saved at Woodland Trails Baptist Church in Houston and, in my overwhelmed zeal, suggested how I wished “my whole family could experience what I had”… I remember fondly the way he stood and proclaimed he had been saved as a teenager! Yes… he was ready to meet his Maker… and sometime early this morning, he finally did.
Daddy used to sing an old gospel song that said “When you have reached the top of Old Mount Zion… Brother I’ll not be too far behind,” That’s my prayer tonight, Daddy… that it won’t be too long before we get to sing together again. Until then, enjoy your rest… you certainly have earned it!