Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Not So Long Ago
Today would have been my Granddaddy's 85th birthday. He passed away at too early an age, at a mere 65 years. Although young when he died, I have vivid memories of my Granddaddy from as far back as I can remember...and each memory confirms the solid and unique character that I've been told existed in every aspect of his being. I remember his love for golf, his warm smile, and the way he loved. The way he loved--each and every person around him. I never heard him speak an ill word about anyone, and the way people magnetized towards him proved that this love I witnessed was received and reciprocated. Genuine. He was a genuine man, and I'm blessed and proud to call him my Granddaddy.
One of the most precious gifts I've ever received was the gift my Mimi gave my family after my Granddaddy passed away. She wrote a short story highlighting special and defining moments during their almost 40 years spent together. It's in letter form, beginning with "Dear Jim" and reminiscing on the time he returned home from war, her spotting him from the choir loft at church. She was then 18, four years older than the 14 year old girl that watched the handsome James May leave for WWII.
"You were in uniform and my heart skipped a beat when you took a seat near the front, looked at me, and smiled."
Their life together, like any, held highs and lows. Times of rejoicing and times of heartache. The one thing I'm certain of is that no matter what season their life was in, their love for each other never wavered. And I know that simply by the way I saw them look at each other, and by the way my Mimi's eyes look when she speaks of him today. I am thankful for the example they set, and I take pleasure in knowing that love can be just that. A memorable journey together, forever to be cherished.
Every now and then I will take out the story which she entitled "Not So Long Ago" and re-read details from their journey. I can't help but tear up every time I read the last chapter of the book....
"Before I finish this, I need to let you know about some of my favorite things, concerning you, and sometimes both of us, and then I will let you rest in peace, until that wonderful day when I see you again......
I loved the fact that you were my best friend, as well as my husband, that we liked each other, as well as loved each other. I truly believe that ours was a match made in Heaven. I loved the fact that you were kind and gentle, but you were firm when you needed to be. I loved the fact that you always set the right example before me and the children. I loved the fact that you were so dependable, no matter what! Like the Rock of Gibraltar. I loved the fact that you were a family man, and so generous. I loved the fact that you read your Bible every day, regardless of what else might be going on. And the way that you always took it with you on trips. And I loved the way you always dated the passage after you read it. I loved your sense of humor, probably most of all, and between us, there was always laughter in our home. I loved your complete loyalty and devotion to the Vols, and to the Yankees! It was so much fun, watching the games together on TV. You taught me first to love baseball, and later, football. I cherish the times our family would rush home from church to "catch" a game. Even to keeping boxscores, keeping up with batting averages, and homeruns . Everyone said your blood would run orange, if you were cut. I loved your devotion to duty. Whatever you did was done well, and you didn't start anything that you didn't finish. I heard a song today entitled "What Will I Do With Me?" and I related to it, because I am asking myself the same question, now that you're gone. And yesterday, I turned on the car radio, and the first song I heard was "Danny Boy" so I had to change stations. Naturally, I thought of you, and everytime I do, this big, huge lump comes in my throat. But I will think of you each time I hear "Ten Thousand Joys" as well as "Let It Snow." And when I think of you, I'll also be thanking you for all the wonderful memories you have left me. But for now, I will just say "Goodnight, My Love" until we meet again. Love you truly, Dorothy."
Happy Birthday, Granddaddy. And thank YOU for gift that I received through your life, and for the blessing of your example....