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.