Saturday, February 18, 2006

Papaw's Wisdom

Wow..has it really been a month since I've updated this? First things first. I went to Roanoke last week to visit with the family and spent 2 days hanging out with Grandma & Grandpa. When I was little, I called them Papaw & Granny but as I got older, I changed it b/c it seemed more formal or grown up, but for sentimental reasons, I'll refer to them as I did as a kid through the rest of this post. I had to pick them up from their apartment and take them back over to their house to let the cleaning ladies in. They moved back in the house Valentine's Day. Anyway, after getting them back to their apartment, Papaw sat down and told me something pretty profound that I'll never forget.

He said, "Memories are good to have...even the bad ones. When you get to be my age and the only place you can go running is through your memories, you'll be glad you have them." He told me that he'll sit in his chair and scroll through his memories trying to decide which one to think about. Then he picks one and thinks about it until he falls asleep. He said it's the closest thing to going back in time that there is. He even sits and remembers bad memories of the war....seeing his friends fall through the air after their plane was shot down and seeing them get hit with shrapnel or seeing them hit the ground.

He has lived such a full life and has seen so many things that I'm truly in awe of his knowledge and experience. I can never get enough war stories from him! His back and knees were hurting him that day, but I never heard him complain about the pain. I think he complained more about Granny than anything. She asks his permission for everything and putters around the house talking about nothing in particular. He also told me that "it's heartbreaking to watch her memory fade. I've cried over it and have laughed over it but in the end, there's not a whole lot of difference between the two, so I just decide to laugh."

Granny can remember who we are when we're right in front of her but as soon as we leave, she can never remember who we are . It is sad to see her slipping because she's always had such a strong and sharp memory. She's only in stage 2 of Alzheimer's and I don't know if I can stand to see her get into the advanced stages. Physically, she's in great problems. Mentally, she's just not all there. Papaw is the exact opposite. Mentally, he's still stharp but physically, he's weak. I looked at some old pictures of them and Papaw was an incredibly handsome man. He was the tall, dark and handsome type. Black hair, brown eyes, muscular and always had this devilish grin on his face. He was a heartbreaker..I know that much. He's still a huge flirt. It's just sad that as handsome and strongly built as he was, I now stand taller than he does.

My granny was a knockout in her day too. Very petite but well endowed, black hair, blue eyes and a beaming smile. Almost all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. are beautiful. I come from a very good looking family. I have two cousins w/ black hair and green eyes..which is almost unheard of. They might all be attractive, but there aren't many of them I can say I sincerely like. My dad's family may not be as attractive, but I like all of them. They're very down to earth country folk. I still think of all the people I like talking to, my papaw is my favorite. He's forever telling jokes and cutting up. My mom is really close to him and she won't handle it well at all when he "passes on" as he puts it. Papaw really depends on Mom and praises her with almost every breath he takes. I love that old man. I certainly hope he gets to meet his great grandchildren before he passes away. That would mean an awful lot to me to have a picture of him and my little baby. I'm trying my best to make that come true, so I'll update on that later.

As for my piece of advice, always listen to your grandparents. They know so much more than you can imagine. Never take them for granted because one day when you need the advice, they won't be there. I plan on taking my Papaw's advice. I want to spend as much of my life as I can making memories..good or bad. You should too.