Many friends helped pull back the veil of ignorance behind which I once dwelt. I am still a vast repository of ignorance waiting to be dispelled, but I thank the Lord and persons around which I grew up in Pike County, Mississippi for helping me develop.
For a college freshman who vowed that if he ever got out of college he would never read another book, it is a humbling joy to have a library named for him.
Just a few who aided this liberation was basketball coach George Smith. At the first game my freshman year I heard him tell the opposing coach he would reimburse him. In my naïveté as an aspiring athlete I thought, “Yeah, we are going to reimburse them,” thinking it meant defeat them. That inspired me to make a hobby of collecting and using uncommon words.
A classmate, Nell Raborn Ott, whose grades I envied helped me do the impossible, diagram sentences. As a result, sentence construction gained importance.
“Miss” Jones taught me verb tense and the difference in such things as its and it’s. Those who tried to teach me to spell must still be embarrassed.
I got the impression that avoiding dangling a participle or splitting an infinitive was so important that if you did your spinal column would dematerialize leaving your head sitting on your pelvis.
Compassionate pastors impressed me spiritually and with the importance of proper speech. Morality and integrity were not only taught to me, but modeled for me.
Learning is a life long process. It is said crocodiles grow every day of their lives right up until the day they die. As a learner I aspire to be the counter part of a crock.
The international motivational speaker, my dear deceased friend Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, spoke truth when he said, “Ten years from now you will be the person you are now except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
I am humbled to say I have met and had fellowship with kings, presidents, various heads of state, astronauts, renown scientists, international religious leaders, corporate moguls, thousands of world class athletes, and a plethora of wonderful and gifted untitled people. All have made an impression on my life.
Not only have I read a number of books since that long ago broken college vow, I have lived among them. Part of my gift to Shorter University is my 6,000 volume library and copies of the 17 books I have written. Thanks friends for making this possible.
This is an open invitation to share in the dedication September 14, at 3 p.m.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church.