Remembering My Grandfather, On the Eve of His Hundredth Birthday

My Grandfather, or “Pop,” as we called him, would turn one hundred years old today if he were still alive. I wrote about him pretty often, even before his death, as he was quite a character. After he passed away in July of 2009, though, I struggled to write about him. I would start writing and then not be able to finish.

I wanted to get it right. I wanted to make sure not to leave anything out. I finally got around to writing about him in December of that year, because I knew I could not let the New Year go by and not document his passing.

I write a lot, and never enough. I am sometimes feast or famine as a writer. I have written over 1,300 posts on this blog since I started it in 2004. Some of them were just to remember things, some of them I felt proud of, as they were poignant, or well-said. Some were funny, I think, others sad or angry. Some were shocking to others. Some even shocked me when they poured out. Some posts I think were complete crap, although I have learned the value of writing simply for the sake of putting words out into the world. It is an exercise in avoiding the pitfalls of perfectionism.

So I wrote Don’t Puppydog It. I was proud of this post about Pop. I don’t say that about much of my writing. Most of my posts are very personal, but this one is, I think, personal and still accessible to other people who grew up with a southern Grandpa, or who sat by someone in the days before they passed, or who watched their grandma get dressed up for Saturday at the small town mall. It’s not very often I feel like I hit any kind of sweet spot in my writing, but this one felt right.  It’s about big things and little things, just like life. The big ones, like death, and heaven, and generations marching on and on. The little things: one man’s funny idiosyncrasies, and how they are passed onto his descendants. I am reminded that they don’t make people like they used to, that we have it so much easier in so many ways. There are little bits of his story that remind me of just how different modern life is compared to the world into which Pop was born in a small town in south Georgia, January of 1916. Pop was as imperfect as they come, but an interesting man, challenging, smart, and funny.

For all his flaws, I loved him very much.

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