An anonymous quote that popped up recently on my social media feed says, “A rich man buying you something means nothing, but a busy man giving you his time means everything.” I am not sure I agree with the first part of the quote. I believe any gift from someone should be appreciated no matter what the person’s financial status is. However, I wholeheartedly agree with the second assertion.
A person’s time is one of his or her most valuable possessions. And a busy person’s time is a premium commodity, especially in this hectic world in which we live. A good example of how such a gift can affect someone’s life in a positive way appears in this month’s cover story, “Louisiana Strong.”
Growing up, Louisiana cotton producer Thomas “Tap” Parker loved everything about farming. While attending Louisiana Tech University, he spent his summers working for two local farmers, Tony Lensing and Raymond Harris. They took time to teach the young man — whose father had passed away when Parker was 12 years old — the importance of having a good work ethic. When he was ready to go out on his own, Parker took the principle with him to begin building a fulfilling career.
After a couple of years farming his family’s 300 acres, Parker was befriended by Jack Hamilton — an innovative farmer and ginner in his hometown of Lake Providence. To say Hamilton had many irons in the fire at that time would be an understatement. He was actively involved in managing Hollybook Land Co., Hollybrook Gin Co. and Hollybrook Warehouse Co. for the Amacker family in addition to running his personal farming operation. Yes, Jack Hamilton was a busy man.
But when the enthusiastic young farmer dropped by his office, Hamilton always made time for him. He greeted him with a big smile and generously offered him encouragement and advice about farming cotton. He even helped him find more land to increase Parker’s fledgling operation.
In looking back at that time, Parker says, “He would make me feel important.”
Over the past 30 years, the Northeast Louisiana cotton farmer has grown his holdings to include a farm in Louisiana and a 50-50 partnership operation in Arkansas. I like to think the busy men who gave Parker their time when their own plates were overflowing contributed to his current success. In this case, their gifts were priceless.