Peepaw was a kind-hearted old man. Always looking to help out others.
If something broke, he was the fix-it man. He wasn't too much into aesthetics, so his "fix" may be an eye-sore, but the formerly broken thing would at least be functional again.
He loved camping. He and Granny were my "camping" grandparents. Granny and Peepaw had this cute little blue and white Scotty trailer. They camped in that thing all over the U.S. When our family would join them, we'd usually bring a pop-up trailer with us. Maybe a tent, too. Sometimes we'd take turns eating in the Scotty trailer with Granny and Peepaw, since it wasn't big enough to hold all of us at once.
Peepaw, far left
He used to ask me how school was going. "School" could be kindergarten, high school, or college. School was school. Education was pretty important to him. I'm guessing it's because he didn't go to college. I don't know though...we never had that conversation.
There are lots of conversations we never had that now I wish I had the opportunity. I wish he could meet his great-grandchildren. I'm sad that James doesn't get to go camping with him. Sure, Scott and I can take James camping, but it'll be different. Peepaw never met a stranger in a campground before. He talked to everybody. Found out where they were from, how many kids they had, how long they'd been married, what they were having for dinner that night... He was a friendly kinda guy.
In the past year, I've missed my Peepaw more than usual. I think it's because I'm a parent now and I realize how MUCH I don't know. How much I need the input and experience of those that have gone before me in this adventure. I'm so grateful to have my parents and my in-laws involved in my life. Lots of wisdom there. Grandparents are a whole 'nother level of wisdom, though. I wish I still had access to all that they had to teach. I guess this is just how it goes, though. When you're a punk kid and have plenty of time with your grandparents, you don't care as much what they have to say. As an adult, as a parent, when you want their input more than ever, they are no longer around. <sigh> Hindsight is 20-20. Now my parents are the grandparents. I wonder if that scares them as much as it scares me. Before, I was two generations away from being the "older, wiser generation". Now I'm only one generation away. If something happened to my parents, me and my siblings would be the "older, wiser generation". That is SCARY. We don't know enough! I don't know enough...
Back to Peepaw. He was bald. He said things like "God only made a few perfect heads...the rest He covered with hair..." He had a "Bald is Beautiful" bumper sticker on his pick-up truck. He also had a "Virginia is for Lovers" bumper sticker. Now that I think about that, it grosses me out a little bit...
Peepaw always went on walks with a walking stick. He was not dependent on a cane or walker to move around. Quite the contrary. But for some reason, he always had a walking stick, whether we were walking around a neighborhood or hiking in the woods on a camping trip. I thought it was the thing to do...pick out a good walking stick at the beginning of a hike. Pretty sure I was doing it wrong, though, because early on I'd get tired of lugging it around and I'd toss it by the wayside.
Peepaw, far right, WITH walking stick
One time we were all eating dinner around at his house and his brother, Uncle Sam, pulled into the driveway in his HUGE RV. Pretty sure Peepaw didn't consider camping in a HUGE RV "real camping". How he displayed his displeasure at the pretentiousness of the monstrous vehicle was by shaking his head and saying "Good Gosh!" We all laughed and laughed when he said that.
Oh Peepaw. I wish you were here to live life with us now. With your grown up grandchildren. With your children who are now grandparents. With your great-grandchildren who don't even know they need a walking stick to go hiking... You are missed.