Wednesday, November 7, 2012

#7 - Family

I know all media is going crazy today with the election results, but I'm going to make your day and NOT talk about it.

Instead I was going to talk a little bit about my time spent with family this weekend.

It was my grandfather's funeral and it reminded me a lot of when my grandmother died. A few tears were shed because we will miss the incredible person my grandfather was, but there were plenty - PLENTY - of laughs shared with our family and friends through the days we were in Georgia. Over 98 years you sure can affect a lot of people's lives, or at least you have the opportunity to do so.  It sounds like my grandfather took every opportunity he could to invest his time in people. I actually had just finished reading a book that talked about how we invest our time. It was saying the best way for us to leave a legacy is to invest in people, because that is really how our legacy will last. If I create Talbert Enterprises and die, in ten or fifty years the business could collapse and my legacy will be gone. But if I can invest time in people, and they invest their time in other people because of what I've done, my legacy will live forever and we can affect generations to come. Grandpa knew this without even reading this book!

At the funeral, his preacher talked of how he affected everyone from his family to his neighbors to employees at the places he frequented. I can remember, growing up, when we would visit and I would ride my bike in circles around his neighborhood. He would point out the houses and tell stories of all the people inside. If they were outside, we would always stop to chat with them. (Although "chat" is a relative term here!) He was always so proud to introduce his grandchildren to people.

Grandma and Grandpa always frequented one particular Chick-Fil-A (I suppose that's where Jennifer and I got our love from?) and when they went in all the employees knew them, if they'd been working there any time at all. I know Grandpa showed interest in all of those employees, and he knew all their stories just like he would anyone else.

Side note: I love the fact that I got to take home a beautiful live plant from Grandpa's funeral, from - who else? The Chick-Fil-A in Chamblee. :)

The minister spoke of two times in Grandpa's life that he saved someone else's life. As we drove off to the cemetery for his graveside service, Jennifer and I were talking about the fact that we didn't know that about him. I said, "How do you think anyone knew about those events?" (thinking things like that are usually done without anyone ever finding out about it). Jennifer laughed out loud and said, "How do you think?" Then it dawned on me, and I started laughing too. I said, "That's right, Royeese (the minister) never said he was humble!"

We never knew Grandpa had a motorcycle or that he rode it with women besides Grandma (gasp!) I even learned little things about him like the fact that he would put his neighbors' newspapers on their front step for them (instead of at the end of the driveway) or he would roll their trash cans back up the driveway for them. It made me really stop and think - we don't even know the names of our neighbors across the street or beside us. True, we are really busy, but too busy to form some kind of community with these people? I think that is why on Tuesdays it takes me so long to do everything. On Tuesdays, my parents watch the kids for a couple of hours in the afternoons while I run errands. During those times of running errands I will stand and talk to complete strangers for half the time I'm supposed to be running errands. The older I get the more I realize this is a dying art - this listening and observing of our fellow residents. Grandpa and Grandma both knew about this and they lived this out. When you had Grandpa's attention, you really had his attention. Now one thing about Grandpa that everyone knew - he LOVED to talk. My uncle wrote a fantastic poem for my grandfather's 80th birthday (I hope I can get a copy of it to post on here) and one thing he spoke of was the fact that when he took up running he had already developed his wind over the years!

It's been three years since my grandma died, and there are still little things that remind me of her or make me miss her. I know this will be the case with my grandfather too. But as with Grandma, I will be only sad because of what I'm missing out on, or my children are missing out on. I know they wouldn't trade places with us for anything.

One funny thing I just remembered from the funeral service that the minister said about Grandpa. She said it was just like him to die on All Saints Day. (I believe it is a Methodist tradition to honor deceased members of the local congregation on the Sunday after All Saints Day - correct me if I'm wrong about that.) But anyway, she said it was just like him to do that because he would be honored not just this year, but also next year because of the fact that he passed away on the day. That made me laugh out loud!

Jenn has a couple of pictures and a beautiful quote from a neighbor on her blog. Go check it out.

Here is his obituary in the AJC. It's actually really interesting even if you didn't know him. He accomplished so much!

1 comment:

Ken Loyd said...

What a wonderful tribute. I'll be providing my friends links to your and Jennifer's beautiful thoughts whenever I can compose my own random ideas. I love you!