In the rough and tumble of our brand of politics, the likes of Seymour Mullings, who died this week aged 82, are often at risk of being underestimated and undervalued.
Mr Mullings was.
There was the assumption among some that his nickname, Foggy, was a metaphor for the man. And in an environment where humour tends to be wickedly cruel, his first name would sometimes be played as opposite to the fact and then representative of his intellect.
Seymour Mullings' real problem was that he was calm in demeanour, measured in speech, caring in spirit, and decent to a flaw - characteristics not usually associated with Jamaican politics.
It says much and, perhaps, teaches more that Seymour Mullings was a successful politician and highly respected man, even by persons who first had to vault constraining prejudices.
But for a six-year hiatus, up to 1989, when the People's National Party (PNP) boycotted elections, Mr Mullings was, between 1969 and 2001, parliamentary representative for South East St Ann.
He held many Cabinet positions in PNP adminis-trations of the 1970s and 1990s, and for much of the latter period served as P.J. Patterson's deputy prime minister. He then had a stint as Jamaica's ambassador to the United States.
Mr Mullings was loyal to his party and his political colleagues.
While everyone knew Seymour Mullings' politics, it didn't seem to matter. He made few, if any, enemies.
What this former land surveyor brought, in great abundance, to the process is what is these days referred to as emotional intelligence - the capacity to connect with, understand and put others at ease. In his case, this talent was unaccompanied by noisy charisma.
Or, as Mr Patterson observed, Seymour Mullings was a "calming influence in the room".
Maybe it makes sense that Mr Mullings was an accomplished pianist who liked to play jazz, loved cricket, and an occasional day at the tracks. He did it all with balance.
So what is the larger statement in all this about Seymour Mullings and Jamaican politics?
First, we think, he was among the last of a dying breed of politicians to whom service, politics and decency are not mutually exclusive concepts.
But also probably true is that despite an environment where the apparently politically successful wear contretemps and hubris as badges of honour, most of us really yearn for the likes - and if he represented an era - of Seymour Mullings.
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