Saying Goodbye to Grandaddy

For Whom the Bell Tolls
Initially I envisioned a shack and an old man with corn cob pipe, a long bead, overalls, sitting in a rocking chair yelling “maw” to a lady hanging laundry in the breeze.  Not for me, not for me at all.  
That was 1995.  I listened to Michael tell stories about his granddaddy over a lunch date (our first date).  One of 11 children, his granddaddy grew up on the out-skirts of Atlanta in a depression era rental house.  Granddaddy’s father was a postal man who one day dumped his mail bag into the river and left his young family.  There was no indoor plumbing when he was young.  They grew their own food, and stored it for a season.

Grandaddy's office chair - now at my house

 There were stories of playing hookie from school.   And like a scene straight from a Huck Finn novel, Granddaddy and his cousins would play in the river.  As a teen, he rode the bus downtown to the local Sears and Roebuck to work.  He held jobs as a Fuller Brush Salesman, a loan broker, and was successful in the Atlanta real estate market.
Granddaddy is Michael’s hero. In 1995 I really didn’t know just why.  At the time, all my 19 year old ears heard was a cultural divide.  

I grew up in NY.  My grandparents had indoor plumbing growing up.  My grandfather kept the same job (that he hated) for 40+ years.  I never heard stories of living for the moment.  That is why I didn’t think it was for me.
Then I met him.  It was Father’s day 1996.  My only grandfather had just suddenly died.  I loved my grandfather so much that I couldn’t imagine life without him, that is until God brought Charles Duncan into my life.  
Grandaddy and Baby Nina
It was that weekend I saw Michael’s stories come to life.  Before me was a grandfather who amazed me.  He had a sparkle in his eye and a creative mischief in his spirit.  He loved.  He laughed.  He had this magical smile.  
That Father’s day weekend, I met a man who wasn’t fractured in any part of his life.  In fact, he was very grounded and sure of who he was.  I think that is why he was able to follow his heart in life with no reserve.  He appreciated things for what they were just as he appreciated people.  He was smart.  He was a bit quirky.  I instantly loved him and was thankful that God had blessed me with another wonderful grandfather.  
Grandaddy loved bells

So take time to listen to people that share stories.  Really think about what they might be saying, for your first impressions might be wrong and you might miss the opportunity of a lifetime; the opportunity to love, to learn, to face challenges by going “Fuller Brush.”

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