I know more about Grandpa George through my wife’s eyes, than I do on my own accord. I’ve only met him a handful of times, but he has affected my life exponentially. He was raised in Southern Georgia, during the days a black man didn’t need to experience. His principles: family. He doesn’t need anything else; well, maybe, fishing and gardening. Whether he was in Georgia, in New York City or back home after retirement, family is always his priority. He taught my wife that men should provide for their family, always be there for your relatives and nurture the creation.
He knows farming like it is first grade math. He always kept a garden no matter what climate he resided. When I tasted his crop, my experience of vegetables was transformed. Vegetables so good, you could eat them plain. But why do that, when his wife can add them to a dish and make everything around them better…the same way he affects other people around him, the same way he affects me.
My wife is his first granddaughter and she adores him. At age 10, my wife’s father decided not to be an active part of her life anymore. Grandpa George stepped in and became that father figure for her. He showered her with love, support, time and adoration. He never missed a birthday or an important accomplishment in my wife’s life.
He is who I asked for her hand in marriage (thanks for saying yes). I believe he is proud of me, because I promised to love my wife as much as he loves his granddaughter.
One of my wife’s favorite Grandpa George acts: He’ll fill up the car’s tank the night before his wife has errands to run or when it falls below half a tank. Of course I am reminded of this standard whenever I fail to meet my wife’s needs before she knows she is in need or when she sees the Christmas lights that light up on my dashboard every time I start the car. I’m learning and thankful to have such a standard to be judged by.
I am sad I will not be able to see you anymore, to shake your hand or see the light in my wife’s eyes when she sees you. Thank you for raising my wife to love me and share your wisdom with me. Be at ease while you’re separated from Grandma Pearl, I will be here for her.