|Posted by briantshirley on April 14, 2012 at 5:25 PM|
You don't have to know who Arthur Ravenel,Jr. is to enjoy this story, but I'll tell you who he is anyway. He served in the United States Marine Corps ( that's pronounced " Core" by the way) from 1945 to 1946. He is a Realtor and general contracter. He served as a Democrat in the S.C. State House of Rep. in the1950's and as a Republican for the S.C. Senate 1980-86. He then served as a member of the U.S. Congress from 1987- 1995. The cable-stayed bridge that stretches from Mt Pleasant,S.C. to Chas., S.C. bears his name.
Now for my father. Larry D.Shirley is a Life and Health Insurance broker who now owns his own business. It's a huge firm with two employees, him and my stepmother Sam.That's right, Sam's living the dream! ( she would hit me right now for writing that if she were standing here.) Dad has also been a public servant as a Charleston City Councilman for 20 years. He elected not to run for another term once he reached that plateau, though he could have easily won. He's your typical politicain squared AND he sells insurance. This makes him a hand shaking, business card handing out, name dropping fool. I've seen him at it for over 25 years, ( I didn't know him until I was 18, but that's a rather short and funny story.See my stand up show sometime.) his moniker is " Hi, I'm Larry Shirley" as he sticks that right hand out to give a firm hand shake and a smile. Whoops, don't forget that business card Larry. He's rubbed elbows and various other appandges with politicians from every level of government and every political ideology. He served his constiuants well and made sure they knew who he was also. Whether at the post office, grocery store, the Joseph P Riley ball park or his favorite watering hole, " Hi, I'm Larry Shirley" can be heard where ever he goes. I'm convinced that somewhere there's a baby who's first words were " Hi, I'm Larry Shirley", because his mother ran into my Dad once to often while the child was an infant.
If you don't have one of my father's business cards then you didn't exist in Chas.,SC. from about 1974 to present. He lamented to me one time about how he would see people to whom he had presented a business card to that didn't call him for an appointment.They had not sought him out for insurance, yet they had his number.What the hell? I told him to give them another card. He said that didn't make sense. These people would just look at him and say, " Thanks Larry, but I already have one of your cards". I told my Dad that was when you look at them and say " I know, but there's something wrong with that card. I haven't got a call from you for an appointment. Here, I'm almost positive this card will work. It's from a different batch."
Arthur Ravenel and my father ran in the same political circles and got along with each other very well. I've talked with Arthur several times and he's a wonderful person. In 1996 my Dad was up for a very pretigious award from the Insurance industry. He had served in many capacities in that arena and is a Past President of The Life Underwriters Association .At this time he was nominated for the Carol H. Jones award, which is presented to the Life Insurance Agent of the year. He had no idea if he would be chosen until the night of the ceremony, as is the custom. I found out he was recieving the award before he did and with the help of his friends we planned for me to make it down the presentaion as a surprise. He thought I was on tour somewhere, so he didn't expect for me to be there.In the weeks before the big dinner we shot a video of friends and family congatulating him that was to be shown right before they brought him on stage. They played my segment first. Later my father told me as soon as he saw my face on the screen, he knew he had won. I was in the back of the room hiding to surpries him after he got the award. There were a lot of peopel in the video wishing my dad well but for me, I'll never forget what Arthur Ravenel, Jr. said:
" Larry Shirley," started Arthur in that beautiful southern draw of his. " I've known Larry for many years and every time I see Larry Shirley he says 'Hi, I'm Larry Shirley'. He's said it to me so many times I think I'm Larry Shirley".
And that brought down the house! God bless cousin Arthur!