Do you have a PawPaw?

Dec 7, 1999 is the day that PawPaw died.

He was a farmer who taught me the stuff a kid needs to know about chickens, cattle, hay and driving a tractor.

When I was a little whipper snapper he smashed my finger in a car door.  When I was older he reminded me that he did this almost every time he saw me.

Pawpaw took me fishing one year.  I had a brand new fishing rod and a shiny spinner tied to the end of the line.  He wanted to show me how to cast out the line.  He stretched the rod back behind his head and flung it forward.  The line pulled all the way out, snapped free from the reel and “splash”, the shiny spinner sunk to the bottom of the pond.  That’s the last time I ever went fishing with PawPaw.

My Grandmother died years before PawPaw died.  PawPaw was unable to take care of the stuff that she did. He learned hard and fast about laundry, grocery shopping, buying pants and underwear.  I will never forget the day he was making a pitcher of orange juice (back in the days of frozen concentrate).  He put nearly half a pound of sugar in it. I asked him what he was doing and he said, “I like my orange juice really really sweet.”  Good thing.

PawPaw figured out quickly that he needed a woman to help him so he remarried a really nice lady.  She cared for him nearly as well as Grandma did.  PawPaw was happy again.

Over the following years my conversations with Pawpaw changed a lot.  We talked about lots of different stuff.  Politics, religion, economics, family, cars, trains and planes.  A very diverse set of topics. I enjoyed my chats with him.  One day I made the mistake of saying I “loved” my motorcycle. He cajoled me into saying if the weather was bad I’d take it into the house.  Some how or another he got me to say my wife could sleep on the front porch.  Real funny now, but not back then.

PawPaw got really sick near the end of November 1999.  I  drove up to Maryland to see him for what I knew would be the last time.  We talked for a while.  We again talked about religion.  This time his choice of topic had a different meaning and I’m honored to have had that conversation with him. Somewhere in the conversation I told him about my oldest daughter getting married.  See the story – Is She Marrying for Sex?  I’m glad we had our last little chat.

Everyone needs at least one PawPaw in their life to teach them lots of stuff.  I’m glad I had mine.


I saw you, but you did not see me

I saw you hug your purse closer to you in the grocery store line. But you didn’t see me put an extra $10.00 in the collection plate last Sunday.

I saw you pull your child closer when we passed each other on the sidewalk. But you didn’t see me playing Santa at the local mall.

I saw you change your mind about going into the restaurant. But you didn’t see me, attending a meeting to raise more money for the hurricane relief.

I saw you roll up your window and shake your head when I drove by. But you didn’t see me, driving behind you when you flicked your cigarette butt out the car window.

I saw you frown at me when I smiled at your children. But you didn’t see me when I took time off from work to run toys to the homeless.

I saw you stare at my long hair. But you didn’t see me and my friends cut ten inches off for Locks of Love.

I saw you roll your eyes at our leather coats and gloves. But you didn’t see me and my brothers donate our old coats and gloves to those that had none.

I saw you look in fright at my tattoos. But you didn’t see me cry as my children where born and have their name written over and in my heart.
I saw you change lanes while rushing off to go somewhere. But you didn’t see me going home to be with my family.

I saw you complain about how loud and noisy our bikes can be. But you didn’t see me when you were changing the CD and drifted into my lane.
I saw you yelling at your kids in the car. But you didn’t see me pat my child’s hands, knowing he was safe behind me.

I saw you reading the map as you drove down the road. But you didn’t see me squeeze my wife’s leg when she told me to take the next turn.

I saw you race down the road in the rain. But you didn’t see me get soaked to the skin so my son could have the car to go on his date.

I saw you run the yellow light just to save a few minutes of time. But, you didn’t see me trying to turn right.

I saw you cut me off because you needed to be in the lane I was in. But you didn’t see me leave the road.

I saw you waiting impatiently for my friends to pass. But you didn’t see me. I wasn’t there.

I saw you go home to your family. But you didn’t see me. Because I died that day you cut me off.

I was just a guy on a motorcycle. A person with friends and family, just like you. But, you didn’t see me.

I read this on Facebook in Sept 2011 and felt the urge to share it with everyone / TLB