Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Remembering my Grandpa

My mom's dad, Charlie Jones, passed away 2 years ago today. Family functions just haven't been the same since then, and I know they never will be. My grandpa was a man of faith, and he was very practical. Almost every time I saw him, he would lecture me about saving money instead of spending. I wish I had followed more of that advice before. He had the best laugh, and I remember him doing everything he could shirtless. Yard work, walking the dogs, burning the trash in the ditch, sitting around the house... all shirtless.

He would drive from Spartanburg, SC to our home in Mount Pleasant, SC (about 3 hours) just to cut the grass for my mom. He wouldn't even spend the night. He would just eat a sandwich and go back.

He loved u-picks. At any time of year, my grandpa would be out picking something. In the late Fall, he collected pine cones so my uncle could make wreaths. He picked strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, and anything else that was pick-able. He wanted us to know that food didn't just come from the grocery store, and we love him for that! When he wasn't picking fruit, he was visiting friends... mostly those who were widowed or shut in. He would take them his fresh goodies, visit awhile, do anything practical that he could for them, and then he'd go on to the next. Even year after he retired from the grocery business, he would still go to the local grocery stores every morning just 'to check in'. It was very rare that he sat still.

I did some googling (that is a verb, ya know) and found a newspaper article that was written about my grandpa. It highlights his career as a grocery store manager. My favorite part is when it talks about how he always cared so much about his customers. I remember hearing stories about how he knew pretty much everything about anyone, even without them saying anything. Anyway, if you have a minute, you should read the article. It does a great job of bragging on our awesome grandpa.

I also found his obituary, which you can view here. It's pretty much just the formal stuff.

What I like best is the following story that my cousin, Charlotte, sent me about a year ago. This is an even better example of the kind of man he was:

Mom and I went to Summitt Hills (a retirement home) to have Valentine's Day dinner with Nonnie and the other residents. As we were leaving, Nonnie was introducing me to her friends and their guests. In conversation, Nonnie brought up Papa and explained to the guest that he was my grandfather. I wish I could remember the woman's name, but at the time i didn't know that the story she was about to tell me would mean so much.
Her face immediately glowed, and she shared with me her memory of Papa.
Her family relocated to the east side of Spartanburg in 1966. She said her family had a wonderful dog, whom they loved deeply, but she would sometimes run off and visit the neighborhood. One day the dog was gone for a long time - longer than she had ever been 'lost' before-- and it had started to rain. Suddenly the phone rang and she overheard her mother say, "thank you so much; we will be right there to pick her up." When they arrived at Community Cash, their dog was found safe, inside the store and Papa had opened up a bag of dog food and was feeding their beloved family pet.

The family was so grateful and have always remembered that day. After telling me this story she said, "it was unbelievable. I mean, what kind of a neighborhood grocery store takes in your dog, brings it inside from the rain and opens up a bag of dog food? And then takes the time to track down the owners!"
I simply responded, "yes, that was my papa."

Unfortunately, I don't have any digital pictures to share with you. Just trust me in that he was a handsome, joyful man!

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