My grandfather “Pop” passed away yesterday morning. The family is doing okay considering; we have had a lot of time to prepare as he has been battling cancer and old age for years. I was closer to Pop than any other family member other than my parents. He always called me his “favorite grandson” (of course, I was his only only grandson). I was very lucky to have been able to spent a bunch of time with him when I was younger. For years, we would camp every spring break and a week during the summer. I was also very lucky to have been able to spend so much time with him over the last year since I’ve moved back to Athens. We have often reminisced about camping. He had a group of guys that met at “the lake” the first full moon of every April to fish, camp, and just be guys. The picture to the left is when I joined on one of these “spring outings” when I was college here at UGA.
He was truly an amazing man. He grew up in a small town in west Tennessee (he always said, “population of 311 if you count cats, dogs, and chickens”). He joined the Navy and participated in World War II. Upon his return, he began a career in journalism. He published weekly newspaper articles for 50 to 60 years. His hobbies, which he weaved into his writing, included gardening, fishing, camping, hiking, and philosophizing. This grandson has learned a lot about life from his Pop. He will always be missed, but I can only hope that he is now able to fish, hike, and garden somewhere in the great beyond.
I leave you with a Jimmy Buffett ballad about the death of JB’s father. I often joked with Pop about Jimmy Buffett, and although I don’t think he knew much of his music, he always laughed and said “yeah that guy is quite a character”. They both had a love and a knack for writing, storytelling, philosophizing, and joking around (and given how their lives turned out, I’d say that they’re on to something). A few days ago, I asked Pop whether he had been sailing since leaving the Navy, and he said no. So, free feel to substitute fishing in the place of sailing here and it will all work out.
I love you, Pop. Thanks for being such a great grandpa!