Reminisce of Days Gone By… {Part V: The Finale}

Me and My Grandparents

I’ve had so much fun this week inviting all of you into my life as I reminisced of days gone by!  But one thing that my grandfather always said, is that “All Good Things Must Come to an End!”  Case in point, this series.  The only way that I could complete this series is by introducing you to my grandparents.

One thing I can say, is that my grandparents never disciplined me with switches, belts, extension cords or whatever else they could got their hands on… They had a different approach… at least with me.  So, I can’t share any butt-whipping stories with ya!  But I will share a story or two with you.

First, let me start off by letting you know that they were married for 72 years!  …that’s right 72!  Raised 4 sons (Steve, Richard, Norman and Robert) and one daughter, Bernice.  But I have received disciplinary actions from all 5 of them… but that’s another story!

Back to this one:

I remember growing up and going to Demopolis, AL for ALL major holidays!  One 4th of July when I was about 7 or 8 years old, I had a loose tooth.  I wouldn’t let anybody get close to it due to the soreness of it.  I knew it was going to come out some how, I just hoped it came out in my sleep.  My grandfather had a smooth swagger about himself.  Something like a Pre-Denzel Washington. You knew not to sit in his favorite recliner chair but you always wanted to sit in it to try to emulate him!

Somehow, he calmed me down by letting me sit in his favorite recliner and was smooth enough to tie a string around that loose tooth without me knowing.  Then, he distracted me enough to recline the chair and tie the other end of the string to the door of the family room. Here I am reclined, watching TV in granddads favorite chair feeling on top of the world!  All of a sudden, the door SLAMMED SHUT and my tooth flew out my mouth… just like on the cartoons!  I WAS TOO OUTDONE AND HOTTER THAN FISH GREASE!   Grandma Gert made sure that I was ok and told granddad a thing or two!

But I couldn’t get mad at him… he was granddad and granddad was cool!

In 2008, Granddad had lived to see 98 years of life!  Good for us but he was getting tired.  For Thanksgiving we had a BIG family party!  I took photos like I always do and for Christmas, I printed him a family portrait of his family that has all of us in it!  Kids, Grands and Great Grands! I can remember watching him look at that photo from the time that I gave it to him to the time I left.  He kept saying, “That’s my bunch… That’s my bunch”!

Thanksgiving 2008

When I got ready to leave that day, he stood up, looked me in the eyes and told me… “I’ll see you on the other side”! It took every ounce in me not to break down and start crying… so I manned up, and gave me a hug like I always do and walked away.  That had to be the longest ride home of my life…

On New Years Eve, 2008, Granddad packed his bags and headed home to be with God.  I know exactly where I was and what I was doing when I felt that he had left us.  Two minutes later my dad called me with the news… Before he could open his mouth, I told him I already know.  My uncle Steve was with him when he left.

The next 24 months of my grandmothers life were never the same…  On December 19th, 2010, Grandma packed her bags and headed home for glory too!  I’ll never forget that phone call that her train was leaving the station. I drove 120mph+ to Huntsville Hospital to be there with her before she left.  Unfortunately, I got there about 2 minutes too late… the train had just left.  My aunt Bernice was there with her while she left.

Now, they’re reunited in Heaven!

Don’t feel sorry for me, for I have so many wonderful memories of life in Demopolis that I could write a novel (What an idea!).  And if I ask my aunt and uncles to put in their two cents I’m sure we could start a Carter library!

I now see life differently… I see life as a relay race. My grandparents fought the good fight and ran a good race!  He lived to see 98 and she lived to see 95 years of life… they fought ran a LONG time.  It’s now time for Steve… Bernice… Richard… Norman… and Robert to take the batons of life.  They’re going to fight the fights and run the races of life and the batons will be passed on to their children and so on.

As I said all week, my father told me a long time ago and I’ll always cherish these words… “If you don’t have family, you don’t have anything”.  I can’t stress this enough… If you have family and your relationships are not what you’d like, please do whatever it takes to repair it.  You only get one shot at this thing called life.

What will you reminisce of days gone by…

Posted on March 31, 2011 in Personal

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Responses (14)

  1. Donna Richardson
    May 13, 2011 at 12:45 pm · Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us of the greastest Blessings of all…..Love & Family .

  2. keyshiabarley
    April 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm · Reply

    Hi Richie,
    Stephanie Oates called and asked me to read your homage to family; well done, I must add. I have a story about Mr. Eddie and Mrs. Gurt.
    I can remember playing on the floor of one of the back bedrooms, with Donna, and every now and then, when we got too quite, Mrs. Gurt would check on us, or send Steph in there to see what we were doing. However, my story deals with Mr. Eddie’s vast knowledge and his simplicity. I remember that I had gone to Mrs. Bertha Oat’s funeral; the family had return home from the repast. Stephanie and I were sitting on the porch when Mr. Eddie came through the stop sign over the speed limit, but still managing to stop-on-a-dime (SMH at that driving). He spoke to everyone, walked proudly over to Stephanie and shared a few stories about he and Mrs. Bertha. He reached in his pocket to pull out his keys and said Stephanie, “Oh, I know that you are going to miss her, but we all have to do what she has done….she just worked out her row.” “Hmm,” I said to Stephanie, I never thought of it that way and before I could say anything else he said, “Yep, her time was out and she had done all the Master called for her to do.” I have never forgotten those wise words, so when my grandaddy, whom I loved dearly died; I found comfort in the words of a wise, old man…he had worked out his row at the age of 99.
    Now my story on Mrs. Gurt is more recent. Your uncle Steve had Mrs Gurt at church and Rev. C. Moore had called for altar call. Mrs. Gurt and Mrs Delia Campbell had no desire to go before the altar, so they remained seated. As, the crowd was moving down, I just happen to stand beside Mrs. Gurt. When she looked up, she smiled as if to say, I know you from somewhere. As Charlie prayed; i noticed that Mrs Gurt kept fumbling for something in her purse… Mrs. Delia passed her a pen and she started to write her name on her tithe envelope. Now mind you, the ushers had already taken up tithes and offering. After Mrs. Gurt finished writing her name, she looked up at me and said in her sassy but low, Mrs. Gurt voice ” huh, take this and put it in the plate” I took it, but tried to wait on Charlie to complete his prayer, when Mrs. Gurt realized that I was not moving, she said more sternly, I said put it in the plate. I was so tickled. She had gotten aggravated with my disobedience that quick. So to please her,I had to pass through the praying crowd to give the usher Mrs Gurts money. Too funny!

    • Richie Carter
      April 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm · Reply

      Keyshia,
      Thanks for that response! Funny thing about my grandmother is that I can see her telling you (in that voice), “I said… put in the plate”!
      I miss them dearly but I take pride in knowing that they’re in a better place!

  3. David Richardson
    April 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm · Reply

    Richie: Thanks for sharing the memories. I think you captured the essence of our grandparents. Well done Cuz, Well Done!

  4. Carolyn Parker
    April 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm · Reply

    Hi Richie,
    I am so happy that I saw your Mom in the grocery store and she told me about your blog. I have been richly blessed by your pictures, words, and -even more-by all of you including me as an adopted family member. Please know just how special you and your family are to me and just how much I admire how all of the children have matured into such fine young people. You have wonderful parents and have been guided in such a positive way. I love your Dad’s take on family. May God continue to bless you richly . Considering your grandparents’long life, you have a long way to go…and that good!!!
    Love, Mrs. Parker

  5. Robert Drake
    April 1, 2011 at 5:37 am · Reply

    What a beautiful testimony…and legacy! FAMILY, the gift from God that sustains us through life. You have TWO guardian angels, Bro. Richie!

  6. June Barnes
    April 1, 2011 at 5:12 am · Reply

    Richie, this is so beautiful! I’m happy that you were able to capture your families memories. It has inspired me to spend more time with family and definitely take more pictures. Van is right, family is precious and every moment should be treasured. Thank you guys for sharing!

    • Richie Carter
      April 1, 2011 at 5:18 am · Reply

      Thanks June! I’m glad that my blogs have inspired you!
      Keep a camera at arms reach!
      🙂

  7. Kisha
    April 1, 2011 at 4:36 am · Reply

    Wonderfully done… Wonderful family!

  8. Van
    April 1, 2011 at 4:19 am · Reply

    WOW, it was great reminiscing these days gone by. Unfortunately, I knew how the stories would end. Like Richie said, don’t be sad for us because we are happy. Happy to have had such wonderful grandparents and to have wonderful parents and family. A lot of you have played roles in our lives in some way, and for that, I think we can all say Thank You!

    Thank you Richie for telling our story so elegantly …………….Family is everything and mean the world to me. Can’t wait to see them again soon.

    • Richie Carter
      April 1, 2011 at 5:17 am · Reply

      Van, this has been a great week! Many have confided in me telling me that this blog series have helped them heal in so many ways… It has also helped me to heal as well!

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