Thursday, December 4, 2008

Yesterday's Journaling...

Today is my mom's birthday... and today at 1:17 p.m. her father, my grandfather, went to be with Jesus. I knew that this day would come, and yet it seems almost unbelievable.

My grandpa was my hero. I like to think that I saw him the same way that the Lord does-- I was fortunate not to see the sinner that he once was, but the man of God he is today.
The following is a glimpse of Grandpa through my eyes:

I knew Alfred Wright as a man of compassion. I think that his difficult and sometimes abusive childhood created in him a very sensitive spirit. He cried over the orphans and gave to those in need-- like Sister Francis, who was suffering from liver failure and the missionaries over seas for whom he did walk-a-thons to raise money. At 78 years old, he determined to raise more money than anyone in his church for those missionaries-- and he did. Even while Lou Gehrig's Disease had stripped him of his ability to walk, he was out on the track-- momma and Big Terry pushing his wheelchair towards the finish line. And how many times did he call me, when money was tight, to find out whether I had enough "snacks" to eat.

In my grandpa, I saw an overcomer. He overcame the addiction of alcoholism at the age of 43 and never once picked up a bottle again-- to the glory of God.

He had a childlike faith that didn't waiver and has been healed from everything from a brain tumor to tuberculosis. I asked him once, how did he have such faith. He told me that when he prayed, he never doubted that God would heal Him-- he just set himself up in a position to receive that healing. Now once again, God has healed him of his disease and he is able to thank God face-to-face for his deliverance.

Grandpa was a hardworking man and a stubborn man; even though his body fought him-- he determined that he would work. At 77 years old, Grandpa'd get so tired he'd quit driving truck. But after a few weeks of being idle, he'd decide his strength was restored and it was time to get back to truckin'. And how many times did the patient Mr. Corney hire him back. I think I lost track after the first 5 times.

In grandpa I saw a strong man who stood up for the underdog and the oppressed-- a trait that his daughter, Tessie, says she inherited.

And he was handsome-- with his tall stature, silvery-white hair, and icy blue eyes. Even after skin-cancer had scared up his nose till he said it looked like it had been "caught up in a pencil trimmer," he was still as handsome as ever to me. And Mildred says, "Amen."

I have so many wonderful memories of my grandpa-- of hamburger happy meals on the way to Laurinburg to pick up his check, of pints of vanilla ice cream, eaten with a small wooden spoon, of ramen noodles with a pat of butter, and pans of cold sweet potato bread-- only the end pieces for me please. I enjoyed many of these meals perched atop my grandpa's knee. Grandpa used to love to tell me, "You had to eat everything from my plate, sittin' on my knee."

He was so funny, he'd call me weeks before I was to come home to plan what he'd cook me for breakfast when I got there. It was always the same: eggs-- over-easy for him, scrambled for me, grits with lots of salt and pepper and butter, turkey bacon, toast with grape jelly, of course--a cold Nugrape for me, and hot black coffee for him. Each of his phone calls to me would begin the same way, he'd say, "I bet your wheels is a spinnin' " and I'd say, "Yep grandpa, they are, I can't wait to be home." And I couldn't.

Some people may wonder at the special bond that I have with my grandpa yet it's very simple to explain-- because to me, grandpa was special. And whatever love I showed to him, he gave it back to me two-fold. Many of you know that grandpa would repeat a story a hundred times about how so-and-so did such-and-such kind thing for him. Grandpa wouldn't remember a single bad thing that person had done, but he always dwelt on the good. See grandpa was a man who loved to be loved. And regardless of his past, in his old age he left the world a legacy of love. Love carried in the hearts of his wife, Mildred who took such good care of him despite his stubbornness at times. His little sister, Aunt Lily Mae-- whom he couldn't wait to have living next door. 7 daughters, 25 grandchildren, and a host of great grandchildren. He wasn't rich by wordly standards, but the treasure he left in our hearts is something that money can't buy. And we that carry these treasures, will go on to tell stories of Alfred Wright, forgiving the past, and speaking only of the good my grandpa left behind.


Judith and Lance said...

Hilmice -- this post brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry that you lost your precious Grandpa. He sounds like a wonderful man, what precious memories you have to remember his life. My prayers are with you and your family at this time.

Melissa said...


I am so sorry to read about the loss of your grandfather. I can tell he was a special, special man. I'm so happy though to hear that he is with Jesus right now, Praise the LORD!

I'll truly be praying for you during this difficult time. I sure miss my grandpa, but knowing he's with the Lord makes things better.


Davene said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. Your love for him has been evident every time you've written about him, but this post in particular is very special.

I'm rejoicing with you at the promise of heaven, but continuing to pray for the comfort of you and all your family during this time.

Will you be flying to NC for the funeral?

Lisa said...

What a sweet post, Hilmice. You have such sweet memories to cherish.

Thinking of you and praying for peace to surround you.

Arlene said...

I'm sorry for your loss... how special he must feel, though, so be spending Christmas with Christ! :o) I know you and your family will keep his legacy alive for years to come.