About My Grandfather
My grandfather is one of the wisest men I know. He was a preacher for over 50 years. Now, even though he is retired, he goes back to churches… broken, fallen and failing, sick churches, and shepherds them as they find a new pastor and get back on their feet. He is over 80 years old. Last Thanksgiving we went on a 6 mile hike.
He is a hiker. A carpenter. A pastor. My first born child will bear his name. He visited Liberty last year and he said “I remember preaching with Dr. Falwell. He was a good man.”
He fashioned the wooden bowl that sits on my desk and holds my earrings. He made the chair rail that was in my little brother’s childhood room. He made our shelves. When we moved from that house, and had to leave the shelves behind, I cried. I’m rather sentimental.
He has cooked some of my favorite meals. We used to have fish fry’s in the summers. He smokes Texas brisket. His southern breakfasts are something I look forward to every year. You just have to grab your food quickly though, because he puts hot sauce on everything and I am apparently missing the gene that enables me to enjoy spicy food. (I like to think that I will get over that before I move to Latin America, but I’m not hopeful). He always used to have a jar of jelly beans on his desk. I bought him Tabasco flavored ones once, and I don’t think I have ever been more proud of a gift.
Together with my grandmother, he took me on some of my favorite trips that became my very favorite memories. Because of them, I know how the Tabasco factory harvests its peppers. I’ve climbed more lighthouses than I can count, have run the length of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first three flights in Kitty Hawk, seen Air Force One, learned about the three different kinds of fences, and camped in some of the prettiest mountains this side of the Mississippi. I’ve waded in the Gulf of Mexico, eaten the world’s best ice cream straight from the carton, eaten astronaut ice-cream, and I know that alligator tastes delicious. I’ve visited Indian villages, seen the Natural Bridge, and toured Gettysburg and Amish country and seen shows at The Sight and Sound Theater and at The Dixie Stampede. We called them “Special Trips’ because parents weren’t allowed to go, only the grand kids. Looking back, I wonder if they knew that the memories would be something I would grow to cherish. Those Special Trips certainly lived up to their name.
His hands. One of his fingers is crooked from when he almost cut it off with a saw a few years back. After years of using walking sticks while hiking, carpentry, and study, his hands are callused and work worn. But so are his books. A whole library: commentaries, Bibles, books on the Gospel’s and the apocalypse and spiritual gifts and Creation and grace.
So much grace.
And this room, his study, is where I stay when we visit.
Granddady was THE preacher. Everyone knew him. Loved him. Revered him. They still do.
I love my grandfather. I call him with every Bible question and theology concept I don’t understand. And he always answers. And if he doesn’t have the answer, he researches and studies until he finds it. I have a manila folder in my dorm room with some of his sermons printed out inside. He will email them to me sometimes. They are my favorite things to ever show up in my inbox.
Sometimes, life is just hard. Studying scripture is the best therapy. And his exposition makes it that much easier.
I don’t know why God saw fit to bless me with someone like this, but he did. Had my Grandfather not raised my mother at the foot of the Cross, I highly doubt I would have been raised there myself. Had he not exhibited Godly headship in the family and in the home, I doubt my mother would have sought after that for her own family. Because my Grandfather was a Godly, loving, involved spiritual leader in her family, my mom married a man who is all of that and more for me and my brothers. I have resolved not to settle for anything less in my life, and it would be settling.
Every time Grandaddy introduces us to his friends or to a church from the pulpit, he beams. He brags on each of us, each of our different accomplishments. Al and Ethan’s latest sports stats, Katherine’s grades and internship and involvement at The University of Tennessee, my volunteer work with Operation Christmas Child. But there is a part of these introductions that he never sees. His friends, people in church he pastors- they all come up to us and say the same thing.
“We just love your grandfather”
And oh, so do we. Whatever pride he feels for us- I doubt will ever compare to the love, pride, and admiration we have for him. There is something beautiful about all the ways The Lord has blessed people through my grandfather.
And I am oh so thankful to know him.