The Family: Papaw

I remember this guy from when I was a kid. He was always nice to me. He always had a kind word to say and was curious how I was doing. I didn’t get to see him all the time, but when I did he always wanted to make me part of what was going on. I can recall trips to go see how the cotton was growing. Even though this man had given up on laying his hand to the land, he still cared. He still felt the connection; the connection that I think only true farmers can feel. He used to let me sit in his lap and “drive” on these little jaunts.

I remember having BBQ’s at his house, and watching him making his special sauce…little of this, little of that, and a lot of Budweiser. Like me now, he loved his beer. He wasn’t a perfect person, and would admit as much (usually under duress).

My friend used to chew tabacco. Well, I wanted to be like my friend, so one day, when no one was around, he let me try some. Man did I get sick. He held my head while I puked my guts up. When my stomach finally got settled down, and I got done being upset over throwing up, he explained to me that chewing tobacco wasn’t all that great of a thing. At that very moment I agreed with him 100%.

One day he got really sick. I remember being told that something had happened to his brain. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I was scared that my buddy wasn’t going to be ok. Turned out that he was. He couldn’t clown around with me and do all the fun stuff that we used to do, but we could still sit down and talk. I always enjoyed that. Regardless of how silly or childish my words were, he would smile and act like they were the most important words that he had heard all day.

Time passed and I got older. I didn’t see my friend much. I was growing up and getting full of myself, as young adults tend to do. I would call from time to time to check on him and the conversations were always pleasant. Hearing his voice always left my heart feeling warm. No matter how far away from him I was, I knew our bond was still there.

One day I got a phone call and was told that my friend had passed on. I would say, without question, it was the hardest day of my life. He had taught me so much about being a man and about being a good person. I am still very sorry that I wasn’t there in the last moments of his life. I take comfort in the fact that we had said goodbye over the phone months before. I had told him “if I don’t see you, I’ll see you”.  My grandfather knew what I meant.

Wherever you are Papaw, thank you for helping me to be the man I am today. I love you and I miss you.

3 Responses to “The Family: Papaw”

  1. I miss you too Daddy – so much.

  2. I will be so glad when I can have, foremost in my mind, the wonderful times. I am saddened, so much, by my last visit. I know it haunts my sister too and God only knows what it has done to our brother. I hope he is happy now and and peace. I have found a place where it is practice to pray for the souls of the dead and that has given me a little comfort.

  3. […] when I was a teenager, and I use the word ‘control’ very, VERY, loosely; my Dad, and my Papaw. Dad was out on the road doing what pipeliners do, and my Papaw just wasn’t physically able. […]

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