Remembering

Talk about a retro family picture. Left to Right: Mammaw, Unknown, Aunt Bobbie, Pappaw, and Cary

Seven years ago today began as any other day, well, at least to a 16 year-old. High school. Still on my learner’s permit for driving. I remember driving the red Dodge Dakota my grandmother still owns from school (Mammaw in the passenger’s seat) to the hospital. My dear grandfather, Pappaw, had been admitted because he was having breathing problems. He’d been through so much before, including several heart attacks, that no one–not even the doctors–expected him to be there for very long.

I was anxious to get home because I had a calculus test the next day that I wanted to study for. Pappaw seemed to be doing fine. My parents came by his room after work and I was ready to go home with them. Mammaw said she’d stay the night with Pappaw. I remember I had a cold. I hugged Pappaw goodbye, but kept my distance because I didn’t want to get him sick. That was the last time I ever saw my dear Pappaw.

That night was a rush of emotions and is kind of blurry in my head, but I still remember the gut-wrenching pain of losing someone you love. I’d never known anyone to die before, especially no one that I was so close to. My grandparents practically raised me as much as my own Mom and Dad.

Anyway, I’m tired of being sad about not being able to see and talk to him anymore. Sadness wasn’t what this entry was supposed to be about. I want to think of and share some good memories I have of him; I am so blessed to have had him as part of my family. So here are some memories:

1 ) Swinging in the front yard  under the shade tree Pappaw always sat under.

2 ) Finding worms under Mammaw’s garden bricks in the ground to use for fishing in the pond…and then only ever catching bluegills.

3 ) Being stung by a bee just after Pappaw brought home that aforementioned red Dodge Dakota as I was dancing about in the bed of the truck. Crying. A lot. Pretty sure Pappaw told me, “If it didn’t bleed, it didn’t hurt.”

4 ) That time I choked on a peppermint hard candy and Pappaw turned me upside down and shook me by my ankles until the candy came out. A bit unconventional, but it worked. I must’ve been pretty little then for him to be able to pick me up…

5 ) The time Pappaw caught a garter snake because he thought I’d like to see it or keep it. I’m not quite sure what he was thinking. He took it outside of the jar to hold it and tried to convince me to hold it, but the little snake’s mouth was just wide enough to stretch over his thumb. Pappaw shook his hand violently to try to get it to let go, the snake’s body flailing back and forth. This was all INSIDE their house…we were afraid it was going to get loose. Oh, Pappaw.

6 ) When Pappaw made me cool things out of random supplies. He made me a sling-shot out of a Y-shaped branch he whittled as the frame and an old piece of leather from a boot as the “launcher” part. He also made me a bow  out of a flexible tree branch, and I found an old arrow of my uncle’s that I would shoot across the yard.

7 ) Coincidentally, that reminds me when I bought myself a BB gun and Pappaw “tested it out” by shooting it at his own garage…and his mailbox. Classic Pappaw.

8 ) Tattling on Pappaw to Mammaw when I was little. I caught him smoking several times in the garage. Mammaw had wanted him to quit, and I knew it was bad for him–as all little kids seem to know. He also used chewing tobacco. I knew what it was, but I wanted to see what he’d say when I questioned him.

“What’s that in your mouth?” I’d ask.

“Black chewing gum.” he’d reply.

Then I’d ask, “Can I have some?”

“This is the last piece.”

9 ) Sitting outside next to Pappaw and his neighbor, James Riley, and listening to the two old men try to one-up each other in how big their produce from their respective gardens were.

and finally…

10 ) Still remembering Pappaw’s weird, random songs and sayings he’d bust out with sometimes. For instance:

“Old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be…”

“She’s got freckles on her butt, she’s pretty…”

“Back to school with a chalk and rule and a brand new pad to write on.” (I heard that EVERY year I could remember when school started back…)

Apparently, they’re all legitimate songs. I Googled them. I mean, he was born in 1917…

P.S. Relatives who read my blog…got any good Pappaw memories??? Oh, and Aunt Bobbie/Shellie/Mom–I’d like a picture of me and Pappaw if you all happen to have one next time I come home. I don’t have ANY with him and me.

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Give Thanks

Thanksgiving was last Thursday and the first one I haven’t celebrated at home.  I was kind of sad about not being at home to celebrate it, missing out on seeing my family and eating Mammaw’s chicken and dressing and pecan pies.  I could have driven home, but 10 hours on the road it quite a long drive when the majority of my time at home would have been spent writing papers and working on a presentation.  Bekkah wasn’t going home either, so we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving in South Carolina instead.  I went to her apartment in Columbia over the holiday.  I put together some food we traditionally eat over Thanksgiving and Bekkah and I had a feast: creamed corn, yams, cheesy scalloped potatoes, smoked ham, mac & cheese, rolls, green beans, brownies–and I even made some of Mammaw’s famous pecan pies with semi-sweet chocolate chips!  Here’s some of what we had:

Everything was delicious.  I woke up early (8 am) for some reason, watched the parade while Bekkah was sleeping, graded papers, entered grades for my classes, took a shower, then started on the meal around 11am, about when Bekkah joined me.  As I was peeling the yams, a got a phone call from Dad with some bad news.  My entire family was at the hospital in Hopkinsville.  Uncle Skip had had a heart attack the night before while he was out with his son Chris and Chris’ wife at a restaurant.  Luckily (but we all know it wasn’t luck–it was God), two nurses happened to be there and were able to immediately give him CPR before he was rushed to the hospital.  He flat-lined once in the night, but they were able to bring him back.  The doctors say that he may have suffered some brain damage.  An initial EKG didn’t find anything, but more tests will have to be done.  He is responsive, however, and is doing so much better than anticipated.   The doctors keep telling them that he still has a long way to go, so I ask that all of you reading this to please keep Uncle Skip and my family in your prayers so that we can have him back to his old self as soon as possible if that’s God’s will.

I wished I was in Kentucky with my family so badly to help support them at that moment, though.  Cary flew into Nashville, and Shellie and Rob came back up even though Shellie had just gone back to AL the day before.  Chris, his wife and the kids were there too.  Mom, Dad, and Mammaw skipped dinner at my Dad’s brother’s to go to the hospital.  No one had slept at all the night before.  And here I was, in South Carolina, sleeping just fine and eating a huge Thanksgiving meal, enjoying myself, completely unaware that any of this was going on.  I’ve taken in for-granted how close I’ve been to my family in Kentucky all of these years, but then I felt as if I might as well have been light-years away.  I know I couldn’t have really done anything if I had been there, but I just felt so separate from my family and guilty that I wasn’t there suffering along with all of them.

The rest of the time, Bekkah and I did a lot of shopping.  We went pre-Black Friday and Black Friday shopping.  I got all of my immediate family’s Christmas presents and a crap load of deals.  I can’t wait for Christmas break, but I really just want all my family to be together and healthy.  That’s really all I want.

Lastly, a picture of Bekkah and Sneakers.  Sorry, Bekkah.  Had to put it in here 🙂

I Should be Studying

Story of my life–study, study, study.  But I get off on tangents that seem so much more interesting than staring at flux problems.

That and I love to write.  I always seem to drift back to blogging in some shape or form.  Hopefully, I can keep this one going.

I love Charleston, it’s such a wonderful city to live in.  As I drive downtown from James Island weekly to TA intro biology labs, I just think I’m so lucky to live here.  This has been my dream for so long: to study marine biology and do it in Charleston.  I honestly think this is where God wants me right now.  Not to say that it’s been easy so far.  I’m extremely busy, and most of the people I’ve met here have been fantastic…but I do miss Kentucky a bit.  Never thought I’d say that.  I was so content my last couple of years at WKU with my awesome friends, my family being so close that I could go home whenever I wanted (which I rarely did, but I still had the option), and the whole familiarization with people and places.  Now, as much as I love being here, I’m still apprehensive about the whole grad program and wondering what direction I’m supposed to go into in this field.  I miss my friends and family, just talking to them daily.  I hate not being together with my close friends and doing things with them and just talking and laughing about our day over dinner.  I constantly wonder what everyone is up to.  It’s weird to go from seeing all of your close friends all the time to not at all.  Actually, it sucks.  If you know me at all, you know I’m a very sentimental person.

School is tough.  I mean, that’s what I expected, but I didn’t think I’d be this busy.  I only have 3 “classes” but two of them have labs.  We have a seminar class on Thurs. nights and another seminar on Fridays that I can’t attend because of TAing.  I also have to TA on Saturday and help do lab prep on Saturday, so my Saturdays are just completely wiped.  I’ve been going to a nice community church called Coastal Community Church on Sundays where everyone has been really friendly.  I’m going to a Lifegroup (small group) meeting at a member’s house starting Wednesday and continuing every Wednesday this “semester.”  Pretty excited about it!  I really like the people I’ve met here, but I haven’t really found any other Christians within the marine bio program to help keep me on my toes like I had back at Western.  I really miss that too.  I’m hoping I can get somewhat plugged in there, as much as my crazy schedule will allow.

Ok, enough procrastinating.  I need sleep.  Physiology lab tomorrow dealing with some mean blue crabs, so I need my energy!  Peace.