My grandfather, Pop, was a giant of a man, at least to me. He was 6’2” and had huge hands. He grew up as a farmer/rancher in the hill country of Texas. He and my grandmother got married at the beginning of the depression. Their ranch was not profitable enough to support a family, so Pop always had a job off the farm and usually two at a time. I don’t remember what all they were, but they included hauling rock with a horse-drawn wagon for the county, and my grandmother many times riding with Pop on that wagon; working in the county clerk’s office; selling “freezers” that came loaded with meat (or maybe it was reverse – selling meat that came with a freezer); construction jobs; and eventually law enforcement. In the latter, he was the county sheriff of Hill County, Texas, and later a policeman with River Oaks Police Department in Texas, retiring as the assistant chief of police.
As a small child, I remember his walking in the door in the evening after a long shift, tall, uniformed in his police hat with his revolver on his hip. He had a quiet deep voice that caused you to lean in to hear – talking slowly and deliberately.
One of my most vivid memories was going to the farm with Pop. I must have been four or five years old. It was very rare to have a snowfall in Texas. The ground was covered with a couple inches of snow, but it was beautiful to me. We were there to work the cattle.
This was my first time with Pop, and I think I was a little anxious (I’m certain he was even more anxious). The farm was not close by. It was going to take us over an hour to get there and we had a day’s worth of work and then a long drive back.
Pop had a lot of chores to do. However, he stopped and asked me if I was hungry, and I said I was. On the farm there was an old farmhouse. I don’t remember how that worked, but somehow Pop produced some bacon and some eggs. He built a fire on the ground. I remember the snow melting around the fire, leaving a ring around it. He put a pan on the fire. He cut up the bacon and fried it and added the eggs on top. He then stirred it all up. I don’t remember if we had plates to eat off of or how we ate it. But it was the best thing I’d ever eaten.
This giant of a man took time to spend with his grandson. He took time from his busy day to build a fire on the ground. I can still hear his wonderful voice talking to me as I ate.
I’m now a grandparent. I sure hope to heck I can make a memory for my grandsons like my grandfather did for me. All it really was, was Pop taking a few moments to spend some time with me.
Try to take time for those important to you. Those memories you make will live on in their hearts and minds forever.