Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Pa-Pa has Alzheimer's and probably doesn't have much time left with us, so it made his stories, guitar playing, and famous quips even more meaningful. Never have I met a man with such a wonderful blend of traits: clean humor, unconditional love and acceptance, tremendous generosity, the hard work ethic of a farmer and WWII vet, and rock-solid faith. He has truly left a legacy worth remembering...and an incredible mark on my life. I remember the things he would say about my Ma-Ma as she was failing, as he'd look across the room..."Don't you kids think I've got the prettiest wife?" Watching him dote on and care for her in her last days was so memorable. I always thought to myself, 'this is what marriage is about, loving and serving one another'.
As kids growing up on Pa-Pa's 600-acre farm, we had plenty of room to grow, and learn about the world...with Pa-Pa there right next door to give his commentary on society. As a response to the feminist movement he'd say: "Women and Johnson grass, they're taking over the world!" As a reminder to always listen: "You can learn something from any ol' fool, if you just listen long enough." Commentary on the 'Perry nose', "Do you know why my nose is so big? Well, because I've been keeping it out of people's business and letting it grow!" We also got our share of his stories from laying pipeline during WWII, and the pranks he pulled on his 7 brothers growing up in Wayne County, West Virginia (there were also 2 sisters in the family). And finally, his parting words on many occasions, "Glad you got to see me." Yes Pa-Pa, I am glad I got to see you.
It is hard not to think about the legacy I want to leave after a trip like this, and if I will ever have stories as good as Pa-Pa's to tell. I guess we all have one day at a time to leave the legacy God has laid out for us, with faithfulness to Him and love for our brothers and sisters. "Dear Lord, take my life and use it for Your glory. Burn away my pride, selfishness, and insecurities that keep me from being all You want me to be. Show me the way I should go, and lead me in your paths of righteousness. Psalm 25..."