May 22, 1931 - September 24, 2010
Two years ago, tonight, I held my Daddy's hand as he breathed his last breath. Tonight, as I sit quietly alone, I am reflecting on the lessons learned from him, which were many. Words that quickly come to mind when I think of him are family, kindness, friend, creative, helpful, funny, love, good Samaritan, just to name a few. At the visitation, I lost count of how many men said to me that my Daddy was their best friend - friends from younger days, friends from work days, friends from the "coffee shop" (which was Hardee's), friends from church, friends from the community. He was a great friend!.......The day of the funeral, Elle wrote a few pages of "memories of Papa" - she included, "I remember the time in Tuscaloosa that he helped 3 people he didn't even know" - He was always helping others! ..... Every time I hear a good joke, I want to share it with him so he can tell it and tell it and tell it again - He loved to make people laugh and he loved to laugh!.......He could have been a weather man - he measured the rain, watched the clouds and in every phone conversation, he always asked, "how's the weather up there?"..........He was born right in the middle of a very large family and each and every family member was very important to him - He loved his family and was always there for them!.........My Daddy taught me how to hammer a nail, paint, glue, etc. - he was really creative at making and/or fixing all kinds of things. Even when we were having computer problems, Elle would think "Papa can fix it". I treasure all of my "Papa Made" things. He always taught me to be patient and do things right the first time, too!........... He taught me to be responsible - always pay my fair share, always take my turn at carpool or whatever! ............ If he said he was going to do something, he did it! He taught me alot about commitment!.......... He showed me that hard work never hurt anybody and that it is OK to take a break, too!.......... One of my favorite memories was dancing with him at my wedding to "My Girl" - every day, I look at the picture from my wedding on the piano and think how very blessed I am.
In lieu of flowers, we requested memorial donations to be given to Salem Baptist Church and Sprayberry Education Center - two places that were very special to him. At Salem Baptist Church, he accepted the Lord and was baptized. He was very dedicated to serving the Lord there. One more thing about him - he loved children and children loved him, especially his two beautiful granddaughters, Elle and Annie, so we found it fitting to dedicate the memorial money to the renovation of the nursery and toddler area which was recently accomplished.
Sprayberry Education Center is Annie's school. It is the special education facility for the Tuscaloosa County School System. In October of 2010, the library was dedicated in "recognition and appreciation of his love of Elle and Annie and the Sprayberry Center."
Every time I walk by "The Giving Tree" outside the library and see the dedication plaque and article, I am reminded of how Daddy's legacy lives on in the lives of these precious children served by Sprayberry, Annie and her friends.
Bro. Bobby described him perfectly when he wrote that poem to share with family and friends at his funeral. If I could have just one more conversation with him, I would surely thank him for everything I learned from him, tell him all about the girls and tell him that the weather is beautiful - it hasn't rained a drop and I love you!