Memories of My Dad: Dr. Arthur W. Howard Dale E. Howard
I awoke on cold, damp Lucknow winter mornings wondering whether I had overslept. I meant to accompany Dad to the College of Physical Education across the street, but darkness captured the old bungalow and me in deep sleep. Dad always arose at 5:45 to get ready for the day: washing, dressing, and then reading his Bible. When I heard our front door open, I knew he was on his way. In quick order I Would hear the spring slam the screen door shut, his footsteps as he began to run to work (he always ran through the early morning fog and smoke), and the sounds of the city stretching itself into a new day. I would get out of bed, dress, and join him. While he was teaching, I would check out a soccer ball or javelin or hockey stick and ball to amuse myself. After class, he might join me to shoot baskets. Then, I would accompany him back to the LCC main campus, to the 400-metre track behind the hostels, where he would run wind sprints, checking his pulse between runs. Back home, he would cool down while reading The Pioneer shower, and finally eat breakfast before returning to the CPE for the 10 am. class.
Dad loved Lucknow, Lucknow Christian College, India, and his teachers and students. Sometimes, however, differences between his American upbringing and Indian context caused laughter. Once, trying to encourage his students to greater effort, he queried: “What? Do you think you’re going to a tea party?” Sometime later, a delegation of students came to ask him, “Sir, when will you be inviting us to your tea party?” A gifted athlete, Dad nonetheless didn’t master cricket. As an American baseball player with a good eye-hand coordination, he certainly could hit a ball, but he observed that the intricacies of cricket included protecting the wicket by blocking bowled balls. So, representing the staff in a game with students, he carefully donned pads and gloves, strode onto the pitch, readied himself for the first ball, and blocked it, a spinner. The ball sailed gracefully into the air to be caught without trouble His blue eyes would twinkle as he told the story: Ten minutes to get ready; half a minute to be caught out; and another ten minutes to take everything back off -my first and las cricket at bat!
Dad served as vice president of Lucknow Christian College as well as principal of the CPR. Besides teaching his regular classes and supervising the college; coaching military police. or lndia's best athletes (including Milkha Singh!); or sewing as Deputy Director, Technical and Athletics Coach at the National institute of Sports, Patiala, he served the Church. Whatever else he did, he was first and foremost a Christian missionary, serving in, Lord Jesus Christ. He read his Bible daily, taught chapel lessons, and attended Church whenever he was on Sundays and he continued the life of an athlete. I remember him best in warm-up pants and CPE T-shirt, coaching, and he was the best of coaches. Two of his dictums have served me well throughout life. “Be a play ahead,” he advised. Whatever the Situation, anticipate next steps and prepare to take the best alternative. And then, “Follow through”. Whether shooting a basketball or making a presentation or preparing a business plan: finish the task completely, well and give thanks.