There is no way that I can sum up an entire lifetime and put it on this very small piece paper… But there are a few special moments… That I feel would make him smile if I shared…
I’m sure everyone remembers the starched clothes and the perfect hair. Well, there was a whole lot more to Pop than that… He loved to fish, He loved to hunt, He loved to ride a four wheeler, He was a great basketball player … And As funny as it sounds… As a kid, he taught me how to roll down the hill in their backyard. I reminded him of that… OFTEN.
He was the kindest and most gentle man I had ever met.
As the years went on, He became more than a grandfather… He was a friend. He was a smile on a hard day. And the moment you felt like your heart couldn’t take anymore… He was the one on his knees. And his prayers… they were faith driven. He knew Jesus… and he believed.
He loved music. We would sing to him… and he would cry. Then you would cry. It was almost like he couldn’t contain what he was feeling in his heart… so it just poured down his cheeks. I will never… ever forget how special it was.
Then one day sitting in his living room… He looked over my way and said, “Gen, when I first gave my heart to the Lord… I had a dream… I want you to remember this… and someday if the Lord doesn’t come get me first… You tell it.”
So, Pop… Here it is. It’s been etched in my memory for years…
He said in the dream, “He entered a beautiful heavenly place, a paradise. The flowers were vibrant and there was a perfect river flowing through it. He said like nothing in comparison to anything he’d ever seen here on this earth… He said he was completely taken.
Said as he began to look around he noticed far off in the distance a very young man with his back to him. Said he had broad shoulders, dark hair and was very tall.”
He went on to say that the more he walked the more in focus everything became. He described feeling so much peace, as if he’d returned home after a long journey. He began to see more and more clearly. The details were beyond compare in this perfect land. The young man in the distance was standing very close to the water in the river as if ready to cross over it. Then suddenly the man turned around.
Pop stopped a moment… He sighed and smiled... and then he said, “Gen, that man was me.”
He wiped tears from his cheeks… and I remember thinking that as he told it… He almost sounded homesick.
I will remember his words, forever.
Our Pop loved his family… his friends… and his town.
He was always so proud of each of his granddaughters… But I have to say… He was SO excited when the good Lord gave him grandSONS, after being surrounded by so many girls for so long.
James, Jonah & Benjamin. They were the very pride of his life.
When Jonah was born, He was so proud of the testimony of his birth… and what the Lord had done. Jonah at 2lbs. and 11 inches long… Pop said, “He was the cutest little cat-squirrel he’d ever laid eyes on.”
And he sure loved his James… without measure. That was his first boy… and James held his heartstrings.
Then when Benjamin came along… He was definitely Pop’s grand finale! Blonde and full of life – He completely adored him.
On a final note… I visited him in the retirement home on January 23rd … He was tired… He’d battled Parkinson’s so hard and the pneumonia had made him so weak… He couldn’t even stand. Upon walking in I kissed his cheek and asked him.. “How are you feeling?”
He gave me the best smile he could muster and said, “The Lord has blessed me with another day.” And that was him. That that was how he was. Best foot forward.
Pop, I know you’re listening…
When we would come see you all through the years… We’d ask, “Hi Pop! Whatcha been doing?” and you’d always say, “Been here... Just waiting on you.”
I’m so glad to know that when my time comes… Death won’t be a big deal. Because I know you’re already there… just waiting on me.
Thank you for your life. And as a dear friend reminded us, you were always a gentleman. You showed us how to live… and you showed us how to die. You left us with a peace beyond our understanding and the knowledge that all of our strength cometh from the Lord.
I will miss you…. And I will love you. And I’ll meet you in the morning, Pop…. Just inside that eastern gate over there.