My grandfather and I shared a very close connection. I was his riding buddy, and he was my trusted source of comforting wisdom. We visited my grandparents everyday. Their home was like a second home for me even throughout adulthood. My grandfather was more like a father to me. My grandfather was my first best friend. I didn’t know what it felt like in understanding a deep lost until his passing. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of his deep booming voice in sharing advice. I can’t crank up my car and put my foot on the peddle without reflecting on our Sunday evening rides on Phinizy Road in Augusta, G.A. My grandpa would nervously push his imagery breaks out of fear of my “heavy” foot driving! My grandfather believed in me more than anyone I knew. He beamed in pride with or without an special achievement moment whenever he saw me. I always knew I was loved, cared for, and supported by my grandfather. He called me “Gull” with his thick southern accent, and I called him “grandpa”. We were together to the very end sharing our last night together in the hospital ride or die by each other’s side.
The Little Red Apron
My grandfather was a very respected Lietuant in law enforcement, and he was respected for his mentorship in our community. He didn’t drive the usual police vehicle. He had a special car that if only if you looked inside you would know who he was. I can recall my grandfather surprising me in Pre-K by doing a visit allowing all the kiddos to play on his walkie talkie in his car. He would turn the siren and the flashing lights on for the kids to be in amazement. I felt like the cool kid when he would come to visit. I would occasionally watch him on the local news for a story saying out loud “That’s my grandpa! ” He loved working in law enforcement, but the country boy in him loved his little red apron. My grandfather loved smoking meats, gardening, and creating southern country classics at home. He bought my brother and I our own little aprons to help out through an apprenticeship of passing down his teachings. Following retirement he loved wearing his red apron while assisting his brother at his Perry’s Pig Bar-B-Que Pit. The two of them were a feature sitting legs crossed with straw hats sipping out of their plastic cups. I see my younger brother and I carrying on those same traditions, recipes, and efforts within our communities.
My grandparents made sure to take my younger brother and I to service every 2nd and 4th Sunday. I can recall how my brother and I would want a lazy day to sleep in as teens, but grandpa would call on the phone making sure we were heading down the street in preparation for the 45 min drive to the back woods of Waynesboro G.A. to our family’s church. I learned about leadership and administration watching him serve as the president of the Trustee Board. We were always the last ones to leave the church, but we didn’t mind on Communion Sunday. My brother and I along with two cousins would drink the leftover grape juice and communion crackers! He made sure to teach us about faith while guiding through love the importance of serving.
Never A Lost
The lost of my grandfather wasn’t as hard on me as many would think in the beginning despite our closeness. I think sharing the experience of being there to the end in the hospital alone together gave me comfort. It gave me a peace of what we knew sadly was drawing to a end. He shared stories that night with me, and he made his peace with God. The last few years were hard physically on him. My grandfather had always been the pillar of our family along with that amongst his siblings. He was the strength for us all in keeping us close. My grandfather was the silent role model in showing how you could come from meager beginnings yet reach for the higher than expected. He instilled in us to never forget to help those who are still left in shadows, and how we should help in some way to give them a push of hope. I didn’t cry in mourning the day of the funeral, nor did I cry when I spoke at the service. The tears flow now seeing in regret of all the things I wish he could see in sharing with me in every year that has passed since his death. However, we never loose a loved one. They are always there in spirit watching us as angels looking down. I love and miss you grandpa. I’m your “Gull” for life.