March 20, 2015

Grandparents are such special people in our lives. When I was younger I had four grandparents that loved me, spoiled me, and took care of me. Grandparents really are an extension of your parents, except they let you get away with a lot more and hop you up on sugar before you head home. My Pawpaw is a man I look up to so much. I have always appreciated his strength and his willingness to do anything for anybody. I think he is rare and there aren't many men like him, except for my dad, of course. I would say they are pretty alike.

My Pawpaw started me on coffee when I was just two or three years old. It was mostly milk, sugar, then a little instant coffee, but I like to think he started the love affair for coffee and me. He always said I was a good eater (which I still am), and he always bragged on me being his first granddaughter growing up. He always reminded me that I was first. I don't think I have been first in anything in my life, but whenever my Pawpaw was around I felt first. He just had a way of making people feel that way. I would say that in most things he put himself last. He worked at Southern Railroad for 40 years and it was rumored that he may have taken one sick day. I don't know if many people can say that about their job, but he was immensely dedicated and dependable. He grew up during the depression and even took two years off from school so he could stay home and take care of his little brothers and sisters. He would milk cows and do the household chores, and to me, that says a lot about his character even now. He always did the right thing. I don't know of anyone who dislikes my Pawpaw, and I am sure others would tell you that very rarely would you ever hear a bad word about him.

Growing up he had a garden that he worked very hard, even in his 60s and 70s. Gardening vegetables is no easy task, and he won several awards and was even in the paper for his garden. I remember him having so much during the Summer months. We would stay out there for a week or so and he and Memaw would have us shuck corn and pick grapes. All of the easy stuff. My sister, cousins, and I would run through the corn and chase each other. We would eat grapes and make faces when we got to the pit and very ungracefully spit them out all over each other. He took us to his church's VBS and church camps and all of the kids would swarm him. I kept feeling a sense of pride knowing that so many kids loved my Pawpaw, but only I would have "first" in his heart. I like to think that God allowed him to survive such difficult times because He knew it would make him a better man for it. He's outlived most of his siblings, a wife, his friends, other family members, and faced far more tragedy than I have. I have never fought in a war, or lost siblings at a young age, or endured the Great Depression, or seen 9 decades of rapid change in the world. He is a rare man, and he is so incredibly loved.

Now he is in hospice care and there isn't anything I can do to save him. Although he's lived a long and full life the heart still stings a little. Hospice care is something I have witnessed before and its hard to see someone you love in that way. He's always cared for others, but now its our turn to care for him. I'd appreciate your thoughts and prayers for me and my family at this time. We don't know how much time we have, but we will cherish everyday that he is still here.

Thank you for reading about such a special man, xx.

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