From The Eyes & Heart of Your GranddaughterI spent the better part of the first 15 years of my life side-by-side with my Papa. He would always come to town and pick me up after school and even a few years after high school I had the vast pleasure of walking and working side-by-side with him on his farms. I am a better person because God gave me a loving, caring, devoted, God fearing Papa. He played the role of Daddy, Papa, Brother, Mentor, Pastor and Friend to so very many people. I can’t think of anyone that would not agree that my Papa lived the life he preached, he didn’t just talk the talk but walked the walk.My time on the farm with him was precious.He taught me to be steady and still and to listen with my heart. He taught me how to drive a standard on the column in an old 70’s Ford pickup and his worn out tractor was my favorite toy. He taught me how to use a come-along, a pickup, a tractor and a local fence post to pull a calf so that the mama & baby could have a chance to live. He taught me how to build cabinets in an old worn-out tin trailer house that he had dreams of living in on a little farm outside of Rochester, Texas. He taught me how to swing a hammer and how to turn a screwdriver to repair little things that needed fixing. He taught me how to live, love, laugh and drink black coffee on hot summer days.
I learned that when times were tough a bologna sandwich was really good, and if you got chips and an Orange Crush soda to go with it - all was right in the world. He taught me what it meant to trust in God when everything around you seemed to fall apart, but more importantly to trust in God when everything around you is completely in place. He taught me to have steady hands during troubled times so that you don't make mistakes. Between him and my Daddy, they taught me what hard work and work ethics was and how to not give up even when it looks impossible. He taught me how to haul water so the animals wouldn't thirst and the same for my soul -- how to fill it with the Holy Word so I wouldn't go dry. My Papa has been more than just a man in my life, he was my best friend, a role model and my pastor.
He was a man of God, a good father, an awesome Papa and my closest friend. When all other kids were out playing with their friends I could be found on that dusty farm with my Papa. Guess you could say he even taught me how to evade the law. When I was 9 years old he let me drive the old farm truck home on the back roads. Nothing ever worked like it was supposed to because he took shortcuts on the things that he thought didn't matter. Driving down this little 2 Lane Rd. the headlights began to flicker at oncoming traffic, which just happened to be the local sheriff. I will never forget the panic and urgency in his voice as he yelled “pull over.” Of course, I panicked because my papa never raised his voice and being only 9 years old and clearly not an experienced driver, I weaved through reflectors on the side of the road until I finally got that big one ton Ford truck to a stop. I’ll never forget how he jumped out and pop the hood as I scurried over into the passenger seat. The look on his face when the cop stopped was priceless. Even as a 9-year-old I knew we were in trouble, but oh so much fun to look back on now and laugh at how me and my Papa evaded the law; we really thought we fooled him. I had the pleasure of reminiscing these old memories with my Papa and Uncle Jr a couple of weeks ago in the hospital. The smile on his face and the laughter filled my heart because I knew I had left a mark in his life just as he has in mine.I do know life won't be the same without him but the memories he left for me to carry-on and share with my daughter will forever be in my heart and will never die in my mind. I love my Papa with all my heart.When I first learned three weeks ago that we thought Papa was going home to be with the Lord I was flooded with emotions. I hurried home to get my daughter so we could go be with my Mom and hopefully get to see and talk with him one more time. The drive from Kansas to Texas was extremely long! I prayed that selfish prayer "Oh God please don't take him before I can get there to say my goodbyes." By God’s grace, we did make it and he actually came home from the hospital, we even enjoyed a good old game of Wahoo! But these last two weeks I realized that it's not goodbye - it's 'see you on the other side!' You see, I know, without a shadow of a doubt that my Papa is in heaven. I know that he's taking that heavenly tour along the streets of gold and I envision that my babies, my cousin Michael, my grandparents (my Daddy's sweet parents), Aunt Dorothy and so many, many more greeted him. But what gives me such a peace that surpasses all understanding is that I know Jesus greeted him at the pearly gates and this is what I imagine he told him:"Welcome home my good and faithful servant! Come! Let me take you to your Mansion, it's just over the hilltop and it’s BIG and BEAUTIFUL and there's a bull names Charlie and many Charolais cows that's been waiting on you. I hope you don't mind but I wanted to replace & upgrade your little trailer house with this mansion because you see, my son, you served me all the days of your life. You sacrificed and believed there would be a way when there seemed to not be one. You paid your tithes in complete faith and never doubted that I would provide. You preach my word and you helped many souls get saved. Well done! I am so proud to call you home to your resting place!"I know that's what my Papa would want you to know & believe too. I also know that if he were standing here right now he would cry and ask you, "Do you know Jesus? Is he your personal savior and friend? Have you asked him into your heart? If not, please know it's not too late for you! You see He died on the cross for your sins so that you can one day join me in heaven! You see, when you’re born your clock of life is wound once and you never know when it will be your time to go. Don't wait! Give your heart to the Lord."Although I'm so sad to lose my Papa I am so glad his pain is no more. He's home and now he can rest in peace.Papa, I always have and always will be your little country girl and partner in crime, and I will forever be grateful for the lessons you taught me along this journey called life. My Daddy said it best when he described you as a "Jack of all trades but a Master of One...the Master of knowing God!" Thank you, Papa, for a life full of memories, laughter and hard work, for believing in me, praying with me, teaching me what it means to live for Jesus and letting me be your little side-kick. Now you can go to your sweet by-and-by and rest among the clouds with our sweet Lord and Savior and my babies who need your love and wisdom. Teach them to drive a tractor and drink black coffee on hot summer days and I'll see y'all again one day. I love you!