Preserving a Legacy of Family, Faith, and Food – November 1 – December 31
Article Written by Trudy Samsill
Most summer days, my sister and I stayed at my grandparents’ home in Birmingham, Alabama. My childhood memories are beautifully interlaced with those days.
We would attend church with my grandparents. I grew up surrounded by the love of family and of God. Once a preacher, my grandfather was always reading his Bible in his big recliner or humming a well-loved hymn while sitting on their screened-in porch in his rocking chair.
I spent many hours with my grandfather. He would have my sister and I take turns cranking the handle on his old ice cream maker, or he would bring home the biggest watermelon he could buy to share with us. I would be swinging on the large porch swing and he would walk out with a metal pan covered with newspaper and sliced watermelon to share with me. While my sister and I would be swinging on the porch and singing at the top of our little lungs, he would stomp out to the porch and holler, “What’s all this racket out here?” He couldn’t look stern for very long after we exploded into giggles. Then he would say, “It sounds like angels singing,” and smile his sweet smile.
My grandfather, Pappaw to us, was a short, stout, mostly bald, always smiling, wonderful man. In my eyes, he was a giant, larger than life, always praying, always encouraging, always loving.
Pappaw loved for me to go with him to run errands to pick up car parts or a gallon of milk. He always took the route that drove us right by the little candy store, and we always had to go in to “just look around.” I would leave with a little paper sack of candy buttons, wax soda bottles filled with colored juice, or taffy. When it was time for him to run a quick errand, he would come find me and say, “Trudy-Belle, let’s go to the store.” I loved those times with him.
When we got restless and bored, Pappaw would come find us and ask us to go for a walk with him. We would follow him down the cracked sidewalk to the little park a block away or just simply enjoy walking for awhile just to be in his company. There was always something new to see or discover, even on the same sidewalk we took each time. Pappaw always found a pretty rock, or a bird’s feather, something to keep us interested and entertained.
When I was about 8, my diabetic grandfather became ill. He developed gangrene in one of his feet, constantly causing him great pain. He would still insist on walking with us though we knew he was hurting. We began to spend more time on the massive screened-in porch than outside walking. He would sit in his rocking chair just to be near to us and tell us silly stories. Our trips to the store decreased as his pain increased. His love and attention only grew towards us though. To save his life, he had to loose his leg. It was amputated just below his knee.
Pappaw, as soon as he was better, was using a prosthetic limb and you never knew he was wearing one. I truly would forget that he had only one “good leg” as he called it. Sadly, gangrene quickly claimed his “good leg,” this time just above the knee. He never once got angry at God nor did he lag in his prayer-time and Bible reading. He leaned into God even more, knowing he needed God more than ever.
My grandfather didn’t let these obstacles stop him. He learned to walk on two prosthetic legs, learned to drive with special attachments on his steering wheel where the gas and brake pedals could be operated. Our trips to the store for car parts and candy resumed. Watermelon was again served. He would wheel himself out to the porch when he wasn’t wearing his “other legs” with a lap full of watermelon to share with me. Nothing stopped him from doing the things he loved.
Pappaw taught me something that I will never forget. It doesn’t take legs to make a person stand tall and strong. It does take bravery and courage and faith in God to allow Him to help you stand. Pappaw was a living example of I Corinthians 16:13, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”[tooltip text=”TOOLTIP TEXT”]Trudy Samsill is a wife to her best friend of 26 years and mother to 4 amazing children. She and her family reside in Paradise, Texas. Home-schooling, nature, writing, and spending time with her family and friends make her one happy chic![/tooltip]
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