What I knew of Johny Hodges in my high school days was that he had an awesome wife and two great daughters. He definitely married up and was a self made success through the car wash operations there in Ada. We counted quarters collected from those car washes once in a while in the pool room and he was "REAL" with all of us. In his own way during those times, he encouraged me.
I can remember many times eating breakfast before school at the house at the bottom of the hill. That's where I got my affinity for peanut butter on pancakes and waffles. Always drank 5-Alive juice too (remember that!)... I usually ate with the girls because I think Johny enjoyed a slower "getting up" process in the morning. But, that dining room, back porch (pool room), hot tub, swimming pool...all were places I and many other guys could easily call our second home. I ate breakfast, lunch or dinner with this family many times over my young years. Johny had to have allowed it or my guess is he'd have outlawed me being there!. He could have easily said "that's enough of Jay being around"..but he didn't. Now, as a father, I look back and consider what he allowed me to participate in so many times...as a young Ada High School "boy"... with his two daughters being my age...he encouraged me.
Lots of antics at that place. Yes, even when Johny and Jovan were gone... You know he had to be aware of it all. But, he just kept the conversation going and kept allowing me to come over and always allowed me back in the door. No big show...but he just encouraged me.
I can't claim it was before I met Jesus because I knew the Lord by then...you just might not have been able to notice it. I'll just say I was not quite living out my faith at that time. No doubt this is why the Lord has Samantha and I enjoying youth ministry today.. I really don't ever recall him making me memorize a verse or reading me a passage from the Bible. He had bad habits, got mad occasionally and was stern with me more than once. He was imperfect, honest and real...and that connected with me because I was too...in some crazy way that (or he) encouraged me.
No matter my life situation: high school kid, college kid or married kid.. I could show up at the door and he'd (they'd) welcome me (or us) in the house and was always glad to see me. I have no doubt that if I had ever called him in a jam, he'd have showed up at my door. And guess what, he would have encouraged me.
How crazy is it when you look back and realize the impact people have on your life..
Johny never taught a class I was in....
Johny and I never built anything together...
I just got to experience and know a man (husband, father and friend) who lived his life and loved his family.