As a little girl, I can remember looking forward to the summertime. I remember the smell of breakfast being cooked in the kitchen by my grandmother, or “Nanny” as I called her. She was up around 5 in the morning to fix a full spread for PawPaw to eat before he left for work. I remember it was ready right before he sat down to eat. I remember the look I got before he left and the reminder to behave.
Most of all, I remember that he was no wimp. I am sure that some of that toughness came from his time in the Army. He worked from sunrise to sunset without one word of complaint. He actually owned a steel company, and as a kid, I really thought he was made of steel. His words meant something, and he took others very seriously. If there was a problem, he fixed it. He didn’t call someone else. I remember that the dinner table was prepared before he arrived home from work, and we sat down to eat together.
I remember that during the day, Nanny and I worked in the garden and ran any errands that needed to be done. I remember watching Nanny canning things and her letting me help. I think my favorite memory was what we did on the weekends. I remember riding on the tire cover of the tractor as my PawPaw worked the garden. I remember gathering vegetables and snapping beans.
I remember that my other grandfather, “Poppy,” carried that same work ethic. I don’t think he retired until he was 80 years old. I remember that there wasn’t an instrument that he couldn’t play, and he didn’t just play it. He made you want to listen for hours. I remember that my Memaw was just as thoughtful to fix breakfast and dinner for Poppy, and she even brought him his plate first. Their love story is one right out of the Bible. Poppy was not a talker, but he didn’t have to speak for you to know his character or what he stood for.
I remember watching these things as a little girl, but my fear is that there won't be someone like me again. There won’t be a little girl that remembers life this way. There won’t be a little girl who remembers that men were men of their word. There won’t be those who never wavered in their beliefs. There won’t be strong men of honor to handle things and keep our world from continuing to go crazy. I pray that I am wrong. I pray that men will stand up stronger than ever before and that the women behind them will have dinner ready when they get home. I pray their grandkids will enjoy the same things I enjoyed.
I pray that where we are now is not where we want to stay. I remember that what I learned by watching all of this growing up was that it continued in my family. My dad works just like his dad and so on. I remember the things my grandparents taught me, but one of the most important was to not give up — ever. If we are ever going to get back to times like this, then we need strong men and supportive women to come together and fight back.
Let’s not bury our heads in the sand. Let’s do what we can so that our kids will remember.
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