Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Your Great PawPaw Ray

My Dear Luke,

Although you are still far too young to know about death and all that it entails, I'm writing you this letter because you recently experienced the loss of your Great PawPaw Ray. Although you only saw Great PawPaw a few times, he was a great man who took so much pride in you. He loved seeing pictures of you, hearing sweet stories about your life and just generally bragging about you, as he did all of his grandchildren.

Your Great PawPaw was a man of much integrity. In his long life, he accomplished so much yet was so humble about all that he did and all that he had. He did a fantastic job fathering his 3 daughters, your sweet Nana and Aunt Mimi and Aunt Marla. He was married to the most fantastic woman on this planet, whom I so wish could have met you. I can still hear PawPaw telling me "Wouldn't MawMaw be proud?" when he held you for the first time.

PawPaw was an excellent example to me of what a parent and a grandparent should be. I remember visiting MawMaw and PawPaw as a young child at their house down the street from PawPaw's barber shop in Old Ocean, Texas. Though I was too young to remember much in that house, I remember Easter egg hunts on the front lawn, splashing in the plastic pool out back, the old shag carpeting in the den where I would dance and make up songs and perform. I remember trips to the barber shop and PawPaw giving us spare change for candy at the store next door. I remember picnics down by the Brazos River, where he and MawMaw would pack up chicken and buy us sugary drinks sold in little milk cartons with foil tops. And when they moved to West Columbia, I remember laying on the bed in the front room, the bed that Great PawPaw was born on, an old iron, massive thing, looking at photo albums of times long ago. I remember long, lazy afternoons rocking on the swing on the back porch, watching PawPaw's wooden farmer boy spraying the water hose onto MawMaw's flower beds. I remember HEB ice cream in the "ice box", hard cheese and pickles in the fridge and honeybuns in the pantry. I remember breakfasts of wheat toast and mashed eggs, made especially for us when we came to visit. I remember walks around the street and rides in the middle seat in the Ford. I remember everything you're supposed to remember about time with your grandparents. It's not the grand things he did, but the small, wonderful gestures that stick with me after many years and many miles.

Although you won't remember your Great PawPaw, he left a meaningful legacy that I want you to carry on. He was a man that exuded what love really is: He was patient and kind. I cannot remember a single time that your PawPaw raised his voice or was ugly to someone. He wasn't envious, and he wasn't boastful or proud. He worked hard for all that he had and yet he led a seemingly simple life. It didn't take much to make your Great PawPaw happy and he didn't get tangled up in the things of this world.  He was never self-seeking. He lived JOY- he did things for Jesus, then for others, always putting himself last. He was not easily angered and he kept no record of wrong. Your Great PawPaw lived a little more than 9 decades on this earth, and I don't think he ever had an enemy. He was a forgiving man with a sweet, sweet spirit. He was a friend to everyone until the day that he died. He did not delight in evil, and he rejoiced in the truth. Great PawPaw loved the Lord with all of his heart, his soul and his mind. He sat on the same pew in the same seat every Sunday at Old Ocean Baptist Church since before I was born. He deeply cared about sharing the message of Jesus, as he knew that was the only way to really live. Finally, he always protected, always trusted, always hoped,  and always, always persevered. He did all of these things, every day.

Great PawPaw knew that being absent from the body was to be present with the Lord, and he lived everyday as if it were his last. He honored his wife, served his children and his church, was a friend to so many, and entertained strangers so as to please the Lord. He truly knew the meaning of life.

Your great PawPaw was one of the greatest men your Mama has ever met. He lived his life longing to hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant". I am quite certain that on January 6th, after he breathed his last breath here on earth, he stood before his Maker and heard those wonderful words.  

So, Luke, even though you won't have memories of your Great PawPaw, please know that he truly loved you. He lived his faith, as I pray you will do every single day of your life. And as you grow, if you ever want to hear wonderful stories of a great man who did great things,  I have plenty to tell.


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Hi! I'm Molly. I've been living, working and playing in Dallas since 2005. I love my Jesus, my husband Jon, and my precious sons Luke and Hunter. I have a deep love for Park Cities Baptist Church, Texas Country music, floating the river, backyard barbecues, crawfish boils, decorating, gift wrapping, gift giving, shopping, Etsy, all things monogrammed, cooking, traveling with my friends to great places, being Southern through and through, wine, football season, and the Texas Longhorns. I hope you'll enjoy reading my Letters to Luke.

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