Saturday, July 31, 2010

How will they know?

I lost my Pawpaw two weeks ago today.  The thing that makes me the most sad is that my boys will never know the man that I loved and that loved me.  I don't even think my cousins (who were born 6 and 8 years after me) knew the same Pawpaw that I did.  Here are just a few of my favorite memories of him:
  • During the summers we (my sister and I) would often spend a few weeks at my Mawmaw and Pawpaw's house because Mawmaw could take us to swimming lessons.  When we weren't swimming (and this wasn't often) Pawpaw would be doing things outside with us.  I loved these weeks of summer and I remember hating to go back home....
  • No matter what time of day or night he would volunteer to be the adult that would sit next to the pool so that we could go swimming.  He encouraged us to be great swimmers and would even time how long we could stay under water and give us tips when we were learning to dive into the pool.
  • I remember many evenings sitting on the swing with him next to the pool.
  • He taught me how to spot the "Big Dipper".
  • He caught fireflies with me.
  • He bought me my first and only pony for my sixth birthday then he taught me to ride, brush, and take care of her.
  • If we wanted to get an icee I remember him sending me to the cupboard or counter for his wallet and we would walk across Moss street to the little convenience store to get one.
  • He ordered me my first Shirley Temple.
  • He taught me how to ride his "little tractor" as soon as my feet could reach the one pedal.
  • After we all got bikes we would ride down Moss to the snow cone stand and he would always get spearmint.  He was always up to go for a bike ride, even if it was just around the block.
  • He taught me how to pick eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and even okra.  I love the memories of a plate of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers that were served almost every evening.
  • He always let us bring baby animals in the house - ducks, chicks, rabbits
  • He was truly a "dumpster diver" although he never dove in one as much as picked off the sides.  Great finds included a high chair, a step stool, a bicycle, and I think even a crib.
  • He accepted my husband as a grandson the day we were married.  I remember him taking us out the barn and giving Philip a bicycle (see last point) that he could fix up for me.  It turned out to be a great bike and I rode it for years to and from school and work.
  • He always sided with us at the grocery store. Of course, we need another watermelon!
  • When I was in driver's ed he and Mawmaw sat out in their driveway to wave at me while I drove by.  I'm sure they were out there for at least an hour (in the LA summer heat) since this was before the days of cell phones.
  • He taught me that the customer is always right, and if you get bad service then make sure to write the company a letter!
  • He lent me the finances to buy my first car and even before I had paid him back for that, our first house.  He didn't make borrowing money from him easy, but in retrospect maybe borrowing money shouldn't be.  I know because of him and Dave Ramsey I never want to be in debt again and that is an invaluable lesson.
  • Phrases that I will always be able to hear him say:  "Goodnight, sha", "Outstanding!", and "See you then"
  • Cigar smoke and the smell of scotch will always remind me of him.

1 comment:

Michelle StellyNorth said...

Thanks so much for sharing your memories... he was a great officer, gentleman, father, and grandfather! Love, Nanny Michelle.