Just got back from a weekend in Indiana with my family. After traveling for almost ten years it was so good to see the people I grew up with and learned from.
This year my Uncle Lee presented a beautiful and moving tribute to my Grandfather. I was able to help put it together. Sure didn't plan on crying, but after thinking of all the things Pa-Pa has seen and done; I got a little choked up.
This is the SeaBee who had gone to war while serving in the Navy. The Navy that had been integrated just a few years after his birth. This is the first African American Master Chief in his classification. As a side note, when I learned of this honor, I was amazed. But, Papa was quick to point out, he was not the first to earn this station, just the first black man to receive it. And while this take is true....
He is still The FIRST in my eyes.My grandfather built things, bought property, traveled the world, and most importantly lead his family as the oldest son.
Going through hundreds of family photos in sepia and gray, gave me occasion to once again ponder the stories of my elders.
Grandpa has a saying "Nothing is ever as good or bad as it first appears"
I think this worldview is a reflection of having been "around the block" and learning to take things in stride. I know my grandfather has not been perfect in his life, but he sure as hell is a good man. A good strong man that I'm so grateful is here to tell me about "the block".
Pa-pa, my mom, and I are all even babies. He was born in 32', mom in 62', and myself in 82'. With my 30 year old mark fast approaching, I've kinda been freaking out about my progress and the general direction of my life.
At dinner the other day I mentioned it would be a "9" year for us all and grandpa said "Yep, I'll be 79". That's when it hit me, that he would be turning 80 to my 30. And strangely, I felt peace.
Peace in knowing that age will continue to come, but it doesn't have to dominate my life or thoughts. I am so grateful my grandfather is here to share his stories and laughs with me. His 30's may have came and went, but they didn't blow him over.
And I'm beginning to realize that 30 may not be bad as it first appeared.
~I found this post in my DRAFT pile and thought I'd release it from writers' purgatory. Not sure why it got sidelined in the first place. The first part of this post was written in Sept. 2009, with everything after the jump being written today.~