My grandfather, who is known as Papaw, was a man of silent strength.
He had so much in life, but he would never tell you that. His house was big, but you would never know it from looking at it. The cars he drove were nice, but nothing too showy. He invested his money well and had a great retirement. During his retirement he liked to play a lot of golf. He was also the treasurer at his church, that he attended almost every Sunday with his wife. But the most treasured thing he had was his family. He had wonderful children, who gave him grandkids (me being one of them!), to which we then gave him great grandkids.
Papaw wasn’t much of a hugger, but boy could he find just the right time to poke you. There was this mischievous smile that would come across his face anytime he was joking with you. He never hesitated to take a verbal jab when given the opening. I loved joking with him.
Something I will always remember about my Papaw is walking into his family room and seeing a football or baseball game on the television. He liked to keep up with the local teams. Also, there was never a time when he didn’t ask you how school was going. Later, when I was working and not in school, he would ask how work was going. He would inquire as to what exactly I did and if I saw myself staying with the company. One thing I will remember him saying when I got my first job was to learn everything I possibly could about the company. That way I would always be ready to move up and take the next step.
Papaw loved to tinker around in his basement fixing things. That came natural, seeing as how he was a civil engineer by trade. He gave over 30 years to one company! He did well financially, but like I said you would never know it by looking at him. You could always catch him wearing his sweater with a button-up shirt underneath. His slacks and loafers would finish it off. He was always well groomed. Papaw took pride in himself, as well as, what he owned. His yard was also always mowed, raked and he would weed-eat whenever necessary. I remember helping him clean leaves out of his gutters and then bagging them up.
Down in my parents basement there is a bridge made with popsicle sticks. Papaw spent a whole day helping me build it. He did most of the work, but showed me what to do at each stage. I did the gluing and he would tell me where to put all the sticks. I took it to school the next day to enter it into the competition. It held almost 40 lbs. before the middle support gave out. After I told him how well it did, he started thinking about how we could have made it better. He was never one to stop thinking.
Down in his basement there was a pool table and Ping-Pong table. That kept my dad, two brothers and me pretty busy. A lot of times, when my mother’s whole family was together, there was quite a bit of competition in that basement with my grandfather, uncles, dad, brothers, and me playing. I will miss those days a lot.
I recently got a chance to bask in those memories when I went over to my grandparent’s house, where they used to live. The house is still furnished the same way I remembered it. As I walked through each room I could remember different holidays spent in each one. I would even stop and stare at a picture or touch something to bring back the memory. I even opened up the cookie drawer. I loved everything about that house. The long hallway, that turned at a 90 degree angle at the end, would leave echoes wherever you walked or talked. There was one room where I caught the floor on fire, while playing with matches. Another room was where my Papaw setup his office. I spent so many days in that house laughing and playing.
The most amazing thing I will remember about Papaw is his dedication to his wife, my Mamaw. He took her golfing, shopping, out to eat, on vacations, and many more places. He was always there for her, even through her Alzheimer’s. Once he realized he couldn’t take care of her by himself, he took her to a really nice place where she could have more attention. He would wake up every morning and drive over to see her for breakfast. Many times he would spend the day there, so he could help with lunch and dinner. The ladies who worked there knew my Papaw well. He would greet each one by name and each would say, “Hi Bill”. My Papaw cared for his wife deeply and it showed in everything he did for her. He was a great example of a loving and patient husband.
Exactly two years later from when my Mamaw passed away, so did my Papaw. He loved his wife very much and is now with her in Heaven. I, too, will miss Papaw very much, but I know I will see him again one day.
His silent strength will be missed, but never forgotten