What is Class?
“Class can walk with Kings and keep its virtue and talk with crowds and keep the common touch. Everyone is comfortable with the person who has class.” -Ann Landers
I’ve been thinking about class this week. It’s such a fine word, and it’s a fine trait. The Oxford Dictionary defines class as “Showing stylish excellence.”
I find class difficult to truly define. I know this for sure, you’ll know it when you see it. Sadly, it’s also pretty easy to spot the absence of class.
Class walks on a level field with everyone and never views anyone as beneath them.
Albert Einstein said it well: “I speak to everyone in the same way whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”
As I thought this week about folks who exuded class, I thought of Erik Pederson.
The son of Danish immigrants, Erik grew up in Lake Charles. When he moved to my hometown of Dry Creek and opened his business, he and his wife Yvonne became cherished friends and neighbors.
Erik Pederson showed class in a variety of ways. My favorite trait was how he was the same no matter where he was. I’ve always said that Erik would’ve been just as comfortable in the Oval Office as he was drinking coffee at Foreman’s Grocery.
Another way my friend showed class was his friendliness to everyone. Erik Pederson had an impish smile and a twinkle in his eye that he shared wherever he went.
Finally, Erik was comfortable in his own skin. There was no pretense about him. He wore his “uniform” every day: Wrangler jeans, a tan snap button work shirt, and boots. His wardrobe was completed by a Gospel of John he carried in his shirt pocket. He was a “what you see is what you get” kind of person. That’s what I loved about him. It’s one of the reasons he was loved by so many.
You see, class has nothing to do with fame, riches, or position. Class is about the inner person and who they really are.
. . . like my friend Erik Pederson.
“Class is an aura of confidence that is sure without being cocky. Class has nothing to do with money. Class never runs scared.”