Thursday, March 14, 2013

TRIBUTE TO PAPAW WOOD -- REVISITED

The Appalachian Irishman penned the following words exactly two years ago today. Thirty years have now passed, since Jesus took Papaw Wood home. Much has changed in those years. His dear wife, Granny Wood, passed in 1991. Their daughter, my mother, went to be with Jesus, so early and unexpectedly, in 2000. Their son-in-law, my father, joined them in 2008. Life has changed. Still the memory of Papaw ties a strong bond to the past, the present, and the future. Now, my purpose is to instill in my remaining family the family stories, the history, that still binds us today. I love you, Papaw!

---------- From the Appalachian Irishman, 3/14/2011 ----------

My Papaw Wood, my mother's father, passed away on this day, March 14, back in 1983. I'll never forget leaving Morristown-Hamblen Hospital, after sitting the night shift with him, thinking that Papaw was going to make it. Mom called me later to say that he had passed.

Papaw was a farmer, in his earlier years, in Indiana, where Mom was born. Later, he worked for Prater's Furniture, as a furniture mover, in Morristown, Tennessee. In his retirement, he worked part-time at a gas station, in Bean Station, Tennessee.

He and Granny had one of those all-too-rare marriages, in which Papaw courted Granny all his life. They always had that spark! Even in their later years together, Papaw would sneak up behind Granny, reach behind her ear, and say, "I stole some sugar!" Granny would pretend to be annoyed, but then she'd smile and say, "Oh, Aby!"

Papaw was married once, before he met Granny. The first marriage didn’t work out. Some time after the divorce, as he enjoyed telling it, he saw Granny walking down Main Street, in Morristown, and said, "There's the girl I'm going to marry!"

I used to spend a week during the summer with Granny and Papaw. I saw how they genuinely loved each other. Papaw taught me how to whittle, carve wood, tie rope, work in the garden, etc. He loved to tickle me until I couldn't breath! His mother's maiden name was Bare, and he'd give me a "big ol' Bare Hug," he'd call it. Papaw loved to pull little pranks on Granny and other folks. I got some of my sense of humor from him.

For birthdays and holidays, we would either go to Granny and Papaw's, in Bean Station, or they would come to Rogersville. Well, they always came to Rogersville for Christmas Eve and spent the night. I used to love to listen to Papaw "tell his stories," about when he was younger. I just wish I could remember them all! I guess I received my appreciation for good conversation from him.

At the viewing, before the receiving of friends, Granny looked at Papaw’s body, lying in the coffin, and said, “He loved me so good.”

Papaw, thank you for being so good to me! You were the best Papaw I could have ever had!