This past weekend I was supposed to go on a hiking/camping trip. We cancelled so that I could spend time with my grandfather. Well, since my weekend unexpectedly opened up, the hiking trip was back on. It was a long journey but it was good to reflect on top of the mountain.
In the early 20's a man was born named Earl Russel Smith Jr. He lived through the depression, went into the military to fight in WWII and came out unscathed. He loved his wife, kids, and the Redskins. All told he had jobs as a pilot, boxer, military police officer, and IRS Agent. He lived a strict life style and if you asked, most people would call him one tough S.O.B.
To me though, he was Pop-pop. He is the one who challenged me to eat as many strawberry shortcakes as I could at Country Cooking. He would give me bananas or black jelly beans because they made my hyper. He drove from VA to FL to help restore order to my life when my parents divorced. He gave me helpful advice on things such as football,cars, girls, and marriage.
A couple years ago when my grandmother passed away, it shook my grandfather to the core. He spent the last couple of years just waiting to rejoin her. He would say that grandmother needed him to accomplish some things first before he could see her. I guess he finally finished the list. Last night he passed away.
Losing a loved one is tough. Pop-pop was given 6 months to live due to his kidneys starting to fail. So I had opportunities to see him and tell him I loved him. This weekend Shayna and I were going to go down and visit him. Looks like we still are, just in a different way than we expected.
Off in the distance there is a slight sound. It can barely be heard, but it's the sound of drums. Indian war drums. That's my Pop-pop..pissing off Cowboy fans.
Today was a great day. Worship was touching. We got to spend some time with my mom and then we came back to church for a potluck dinner and some more praise.
The building were our congregation meets actually has 5 different churches. Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Traditional, Contemporary, and Spanish. We all got together to break bread. What was fascinating was that you could see every aspect of this in the food brought to the potluck. Traditionalists brought the KFC (holy bird), deviled eggs. Vietnamese brought summer rolls. I don't know what the name of the Ethiopian food was but it was good. And there was some flan to round out Spanish side. It was inspiring to see these people with different backgrounds come together and be one.
After dinner there were some baptisms. I always tear up during baptisms. There were 6 so by the end I was actually crying.
A couple years ago my dad came up from Florida and I was showing him all the new stuff that had happened in the area. Central Park in Fredericksburg, Todd's gas in south Stafford, etc. It made him a little bit sad to see stuff that he knew so well become so different. Especially with Central Park. These were fields that he grew up playing in and now it's a shopping district.
I got my first taste of that this weekend. On Saturday Shayna and I went with Jeff & Ashley down to Fredericksburg to see historic downtown, battlefields etc. While there we were going to go to Capt. Sids. For those of you who don't know about Capt. Sids it's a sandwich shop that is next to the Carl's Icecream. The sandwiches they served there were to put it mildly, ginormous. It would have to be at least 1 lb of meat on the sandwich. It was run by a friendly old couple.
So we go down there and it's no longer run by a friendly old couple. We saw a guy eating a hamburger there and it was a normal hamburger (as a point of reference, I don't believe the original restaurant even served burgers. I think they just served subs and sandwiches). So we decide to leave. Something from my past has moved on and so should I.
So we head down into downtown Fredericksburg to eat at Spanky's. Spanky's is another sandwich type place that was really popular among college/HS kids. I ate many a meal there. It was actually completely shut down and converted into a Piano/Jazz restaurant.
Two aspects of my formative years completely gone. Life goes on though, for the better. We ended up going to Sonic and drowning my sorrow in a strawberry slush. Capt. Sids & Spanky's didn't have anything close to the strawberry slush..
I haven't blogged in, gosh well over a month. It's not that I don't have anything interesting to say, it's more that I just haven't had time. Time to make time and make a blog post, especially today.
There are few dates that stick out in my mind. You have the normal ones, Christmas, New Years, even 4th of July. I don't bother to remember most people's birthdays. That's for my wife to remember. But April 2nd is different. April 2nd is life altering. April 2nd seems like any other day but it's not. 7 years ago, April 2nd became April 2nd. (If you imagine Don Cheadlereading this paragraph to you it sounds a lot better)
7 years ago today, Shayna and I had our first date. She was an hour late, I wore a tie and gave her a rose, we ate at Friendlys, I had a hamburger with fries, she had a chicken wrap, we talked and laughed, I paid, she drove, and at the end we gave each other a hug and said we should do this again.
3 years ago today Shayna and I had a busy day. Rehearsal, photos, makeup, etc. 3 years ago today we pledged to God and anyone that wanted to drive 4 hours through a snow storm that we would spend the rest of our lives together.
It's been the best 7 years of my life. I love you dear. Happy Anniversary.