Last Saturday, after 92 years, Shay's sweet Granddaddy went to be with the Lord. As a farmer, he lived a long life full of hard work. He definitely deserves eternal rest. Great Daddy, what his 19 great-grandchildren called, was such a precious man (FYI he could call all 19 great grandchildren by name too). I thought of him as a quiet man with a very commanding presence. In a chaotic room full of 40+ family members during holidays I always knew he was in the room just taking in the family he created. Shay's family has always been so special in that we all get together, 4 generations, for every holiday. Our cousin Colbi has been telling me for the last year that Alan Jackson's song "Small Town Southern Man," describes Great Daddy perfectly. Not to be cheesy and use a country song as the basis of this post but Colbi is right, the song really does sound like it was written about our Great Daddy. The song says something like, "his greatest contribution is the ones he leaves behind," and I couldn't help think about how true that was of this family as we all spent the day after he passed in his home. I think it was one of the longest visitation lines people have ever walked through. Everyone who came through made comments about the how family was never-ending. They also said what a beautiful family we had and I couldn't agree more. I am so thankful for the family that Great Daddy and Great Mama founded and I believe I am one lucky girl for marrying into it.
The song also talks about the man only loving one woman. Three weeks ago Shay's grandparents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. If that doesn't give you chills I don't know what does. In the 12 years I have been a part of this family I have never seen Great Mama go more than 5 minutes without reaching over to touch Great Daddy's hand. I can only imagine how much she is missing that hand and I wonder how many times she has reached next to her just out of habit. They sat in a double recliner for as long as they were able and once he had to move to a lift chair or hospital bed she inched her chair as closely as she possibly could next to him. What a love story. They are all I hope my marriage to be.
Shay is 100% the man he is today because of the amazing male role models he has had in his life. I know for a fact that he is truly thankful for his Granddaddy and impact he had on Shay's life. I've done my best, though it doesn't even come close, to express how much Great Daddy was loved, admired and respected. We will definitely miss him and that sweet smirk. We give thanks for his long life and rejoice in the fact that he is finally with his Heavenly Father.