Remembering Jennings Osborne... and all those lights
A well-known Arkansas family is now asking you to join them in a celebration of life...and lights.
The daughter of the late Jennings Osborne hopes the event will honor the philanthropist while encouraging the kind of lifestyle he never had.
Last year's Light Up The Night race was considered a huge success. Only a couple hundred were expected... 9-hundred showed up.
This year, Breezy Osborne-Wingfield is hoping for a thousand.
"I thought a race would be wonderful because activity is something that he needed to do. That would have helped prolong his life and the type of conditions that he had," said Breezy.
67-year-old Jennings Osborne died last summer after his second heart surgery.
His only daughter Breezy says every time her dad tried to add physical activity to his life, he was already too sick.
And as difficult as it's been to lose a parent... becoming a parent has helped.
"I still shed tears just about every day or every other day, whether they're happy or she looks just like him when she smiles. Or when she giggles," said Breezy.
Not only does the family notice the similarities between the two, baby Riley was born exactly one year after Jennings died.
"It's very wonderful that she was born on the day he passed. That helps a lot. It's very therapeutic. Gives us something to look forward to on that day. A different kind of celebration," said Breezy.
And if you remember anything about Jennings Osborne, it might be the Christmas lights. Which is why participants for Light Up The Night are encouraged to wear as many lights as they can.
"Last year I was pretty lit up with lots of lights. My backpack was really heavy," said Breezy.
The approximately 4 million Christmas lights on Cantrell Road may have gone a little too far according to neighbors in the 1980s but Breezy now understands why her dad wanted to give her the world.
"I completely have a different respect and understanding for parenthood and exactly what my mom and dad wanted to do for me in the midst of all the lights. You know, you want to keep giving and giving.
"I want her to learn to. I want her to learn that there are different ways you can give. It doesn't have to be a dollar and you can always give back," said Breezy.
Light Up The Night is sponsored by Baptist Health and raises money for two causes close to Jennings Osborne's heart: Our House and the Little Rock Animal Village.
Last year each was given $5000.