My Grampy (Part 1)

My father’s father, was born in the back woods of western Maine, June 11, 1885.  His father, John Lymon, was born in 1854, too young to serve in the War Between The States.  In 1908 at age 23, Gramp married his childhood sweetheart, Hazel Amanda Rowe; they had grown up together since age three.  They would walk together through life’s ups and downs for almost 64 years. They died within two weeks of each other in 1972, going Home at ages 86 where they would finally be reunited with their first two children.  Indeed, the untimely, tragic deaths of my two aunts hangs heavy in my heart just relating that sad history.  Their second daughter, Rowena was barely six weeks old, when their first daughter, Myrtice, at age two, crawled under the sink and ingested a substance that took her life. A few months later, before her first birthday, Rowena would follow her sister, dying from a fever.  In early 1972, not long after these gentle folks had passed, my son would die in premature childbirth.  I never got to hold him, read to him, play ball or take him fishing, yet there is an emptiness in my heart that ever remains.  In comparison, however, my loss pales immensely in the light of the horrific pain and agony my Mimi and Grampy endured.  I don’t recall ever seeing my grandfather cry except at Mimi’s funeral; I never, ever, heard him raise his voice in anger or frustration.  I did hear him rebuke my father one time.  Gramp was almost 80, and when Dad brought his mail, he handed Gramp an envelope containing a Government Welfare check.  Now, if anyone could have used another $200, Gramp and Mimi sure could, but he defiantly told my father, he didn’t “earn it,” and he sure wasn’t going to “spend someone else’s hard-earned money.”  The argument was very brief; the check was mailed back.

The Bible was the single most important document in Gramp’s life.  He was never far from his, read It every day, at least once.  Every morning in the living room, on his knees, with his elbows in the overstuffed chair, he would talk for a long time with his Father.  I couldn’t tell you how many Bibles he and Mimi gave away.  On May 2, 1959 as I concluded my junior year in high school, they gave me a very nice one; Gramp wrote in the front cover “God will be first or nothing, and II Tim 2:15.” I still use it today.  The more of life I experience, the better I understand his encouragement.  Gramp taught Bible classes, preached some, and he could sing majestically.  He had a flowing, mellow tenor voice that was thrilling to hear.  His solos were inspiring.  After I joined him in the choir, I would often sing quietly, just to hear him.   As a bookkeeper for several companies throughout his life, his work was unimpeachable.  He and Mimi cleaned the church building to help pay bills.  Sunday dress was always dark suit, white shirt, and tie.  I remember one Sunday when I was about 8 or 9, class was out and Gramp was sitting in the back of the auditorium before worship started.  I came over to say hello and I noticed some stubble on his chin; he had forgotten to shave.  I said with a smile, “Hey, Gramp, you growing a beard?”  Touching his face, he jumped up, and exclaimed, “Goodness gracious!” He pushed me aside and rushed out.  He scared me good; I promise you, in that moment, I expected thunder, lightning or something from heaven to burst forth because of Gramp’s terrible sin!  But now you see, that was my Gramp; to him it was terrible; his respect for his Lord demanded that he present himself for worship as honorably as he could, and that certainly included a clean shave!  He wasn’t there primarily to visit with dear friends; he came to honor his Lord.

Never pretentious, never a Thumper…you know about Thumpers, right?  No, no, not a rabbit, silly!  Those well-intentioned folks that beat on their religious Books and your door, and want you to listen to them and see them…because they have all the answers, you don’t…..They are distantly related, I believe, to the New England “Puritans.”  Ok, surely you’ve heard of them?  No, no, they are not a football team!….quick definition….these were folks living mostly in New England years ago…, there may be some around today,… who went around all the time with this scary, haunting feeling…knowing somehow, somewhere,…someone might be having … a goood time!  Deliver me from Thumpers and Puritans!  My Grampy was certainly devout, and if you asked, he would talk about The Book, but if you didn’t, he wouldn’t insult or aggrevate you, he’d just be a good neighbor, friend, and fellow American.  He was a quiet, humble, God fearing, kind, hard-working, patriotic gentleman….America was founded and grew large and strong by such folks… Could we use a few more like Gramp today, or what!   Oooops, gotta run…I think there’s a Thumper at my door….From my heart to yours…see ya next time…

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