June 28, 2016 | Jim Ryant

It is not uncommon for men at Auburn to never have known their fathers.  Jayare (pronounced like J.R.) explores the consequences of growing up “fatherless” and why he now spells out his nickname rather than just using his initials.

I know what the word means, but I never knew my father. I talked to him on time on the phone when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I can still remember that day. I was at my grandma’s house just being a kid and playing with my brothers and sisters when my mom called us saying, “your dad is on the phone.” I went in to talk to him, but I can’t remember what we talked about. That was the last time I heard from him.

I’m 29 now, and in 2014 I saw a picture of my father that girlfriend, Peggy, brought up on a visit. She got it off the Internet. At first I felt happy because I could see where I got my good looks from (naw, just playin). But after 29 years I got to see what my father looks like. Then I got mad because he was never there for me or my brother and sister. He never showed me how to be a man; he never taught me right from wrong.

Leroy approaches as J.R.’s father:

Dad, why weren’t you there for me? I wish we could have played ball together. When kids came over they asked where my dad was. I just tried to avoid the question. How come you and my mom started talking? I wonder if you and I had anything in common.

My dad passed away in 2012 of prostate cancer. His name was Allen Earl Barnes. I go by J.R. Some people think that stands for “junior”, but I don’t let people call me that.