This morning I was not able to sleep, so I did what I do when I can’t sleep. Read my Grandad Gene’s life story. He wrote this when he wasn’t able to sleep because of the chemotherapy. We lost him almost exactly 10 years ago but he still lives on. And I would argue that it is because of his great accomplishments that his legacy lives on.
He accomplished many great things in life. A loving husband. Great father and grandfather. Successful businessman. World traveler. Veteran. Faithful church choir member. Men’s breakfast organizer. Philanthropist. But I would argue that his greatest accomplishment is his legacy. And that’s a great accomplishment.
I can still hear him saying “Now son…” That’s what he called my brother and I. Sometimes in middle school I wondered if he even remembered our names or if we were all just “son”. He taught us to shoot snails off the tree. Fish in his trout pound; he gave up on fishing in the river with us because we made too much noise stomping around and throwing rocks at each other. How to make corncob pipes, and even smoke some of his cigarette tobacco, which if Grandmom asked, “he quit”. He taught us how to build things without power tools. How to whittle, although this was delayed a few years after my brother tried to whittle his finger off. But our delayed reward was an Everett Seed knife with our names engraved on it. He even showed us the best skinny dipping spots. He taught us how to tie a tie, which you are supposed to wear to church on Sunday. And my mom’s personal favorite, how to spit. Just to name a few things.
He encouraged all of us grandkids to listen to our parents. Stay in church. Get involved with scouting. He modeled a great work ethic. He wanted us to go to college and get a good job. Which I still love doing cold calls, just like him. And I followed in his footsteps and graduated from Georgia State University. And he encouraged us to travel and escape from our small towns (or bubble that I grew up in). He accomplished many great things and he wanted us to live an even greater life than he did.
He has modeled many things and influenced generations to come. This year all four grandchildren will be married. All four grandchildren will soon be college graduates. With all the grandkids trips and deployments combined, we’ve circumnavigated the globe several times. 2/4 served in the military. And all are part of great families. I hope to pass down things that I learned from him to my kids and grandkids. That in it’s self is his greatest accomplishment. He lived a life worth repeating and I can only hope to do the same.