Thursday, March 07, 2013

A Moment in Time

"Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land which you are entering to take possession of it.  Keep them and do them; for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’  For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?  And what great nation is there, that has statutes and ordinances so righteous as all this law which I set before you this day?  Only take heed, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children."
Deuteronomy 4:5-9 

Tomorrow will be the anniversary of the death of my grandpa Davis.  Grandpa was born in the early 1900's.  His childhood was filled with twists and turns.  They were poor, and for a portion of his life he lived in a sod house.  After marrying my grandmother, when my dad was very young, he spent some time at Southwestern Assemblies of God College, which was then in Oklahoma. 

He did pastor a small, rural church in their community for a time.  In my remembrance, he was a farmer and a Sunday school teacher.  He and my grandmother raised their children during tough times.  My father, who is the oldest, was born after the stock market crashed and the Great Depression had begun.  Kansans suffered through the Dust Bowl and did their best to keep their families fed.  

My grandpa was enigma to me.  He had a strong personality.  Yet, his laughter came easily at times.  One of my favorite memories were his weekly words to me.  He stood at the back of our church every Sunday.  When I would come by (often too quickly, considering I was in church!), he would reach out and touch my shoulder, and say, "There's my girlfriend!"  Another sweet memory is eating cold watermelon in their home on a hot summer day.

Grandpa had this huge board for checkers.  I don't remember ever playing a game with him, but I know my older cousins did.  And anyone who lived in the community knew whose red pickup that was coming down the road!

When I was in high school, Grandpa suffered his first stroke.  My grandmother practically lived at the hospital during his stay there.  The family tried putting him into a nursing home, but felt the care there was not best for him.  After he returned home, my grandmother, mom, and aunts all worked diligently to tend to him.  One bright memory from that time was during my senior year of high school.  I was assigned to interview three people who had grown up in our small town, regarding the history of our community.  Grandma, Grandpa, and I had some great laughs that day, especially when he told the story of the horse being spooked by the train!

In the years afterward, he had other strokes.  Eventually, he ended up in a "swing bed" situation at our hospital.  He lived out the rest of his time there.

In those years, I learned to know him in a whole new way.  His demeanor was somehow softer, and the years of suffering opened my eyes to the truth strength within him.  It was not easy to see this man lying in a bed, relying on others to feed him, and his short term memory so sketchy.  He did remember things from years gone by, though.  I remember sitting at his bedside, and seeing his hand curled up and useless.  I remember rubbing it, and wishing I could make the tension in it relax, so he could stretch out his hand again.  He could still make his silly little growling noise at me, though, and wiggle his ears!  

Grandpa passed away in 1990, less than a year after I got married.  One of the many things I regret is that my children never met him (or any of my other grandparents).  He would have loved watching them and laughing at their antics.  He would have shared his love for the Bible and the land.  (And probably his views on politics--he was a staunch conservative!)

I miss you, Grandpa.  My life is richer for the heritage you passed on to my dad and myself.  I look forward to seeing my "boyfriend" again some day!

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