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”!
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…