My grandpa

My grandpa died this summer. He was killed working on his farm on a place called Beaver Mountain in Southeast Oklahoma. A tractor ran over him. He was old though, and that was the way he would have wanted it to go down.

I called him Papaw. As far back as I can remember, he always told me stories about his life. I’m 21 now, and the stories never got old. When he told a story, he had a way about him that made you block everything else out and listen.

He taught me what it meant to “work.” If you’ve never spent an entire day performing manual labor with a man that lived through the depression, I highly recommend the experience. The farm was always a mysterious place that brought things into focus for me. Whether it was the open pasture covered with ponds and grazing cattle or the stories he told me that always had a hidden moral, I do not know. Maybe it was a combination of the two.

The last time I saw him was a week before he died. I felt compelled to come see him. It was almost like God was telling me it would be my last chance. We talked for hours. He told me several more stories…but only one has dominated my mind since that day.

A preacher came to a new church that had a reputation for scaring off pastors. The new preacher was young and determined. Many people warned the preacher of two nasty brothers who had assaulted the last two preachers in the middle of their sermons. It was time for the young preacher to give his sermon. He opened his Bible and immediately noticed two men walking to the front. He knew these were the brothers they warned him about. The young preacher pulled a .45 from beneath the podium and said, “Today I’m gonna preach about hell and if you two boys don’t sit down, you’re about to go there.”

The story was amusing. I’ve been thinking a lot about it. I don’t know what to make of it. When the time is right, I’ll know. I told my grandpa goodbye and leaned down toward his massive recliner to hug him. He looked me in the eye as I leaned in. His eyes were the only part of his body that never aged. They were as clear as the day he was born.

“Kendall, I’m proud of you. I want you to know that. Keep doing what you’ve been doing.”

Those were the last words I ever heard him speak. I couldn’t ask for a better goodbye.

Published in: on September 6, 2007 at 11:25 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is a great piece – the anecdote about the preacher is so powerful and so funny!

    I’m curious – why is your blog named “Nineteen”? If it’s a Dark Tower reference, I’m definitely impressed.

  2. Awesome, I so seldom find people who’ve read the whole series! Most people get stuck on the first book and never go on. I won’t say anything about the seventh book; if you’ve gone this long without having the ending get spoiled, I’d hate to stop you now.

    Let me know when you do finish, though, it’s so rare that I run into people to talk about the books with.

  3. Dwarf, this made me cry.. I can’t describe how much I love reading what you write. You write the way I wish I could. Thank you for sharing this with me.

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