Thursday, June 28, 2012

PawPaw's Eulogy by Lauren and Elise

Elise - I never thought this day would ever actually come. PawPaw was with us our whole lives and it's strange to be surrounded by so much of our family today, and not have him here. Lauren -We've spent the weekend telling favorite Paw Paw stories, and sorting through photographs, pausing with each one, to share our memories. When we would visit PawPaw, if we had a complaint, whether it was a stomach ache or a headache or a zit, Paw Paw would go to his medicine cabinet and find the remedy. He always wanted to make things better for us. Elise-I remember the long walks on the levee, picking up cans with a stick, and whining when we stopped walking and I realized how far we were away from home. I never thought I'd make it back, but PawPaw always made sure I did. Even if it isn't after one of those long walks, there's still something comforting about turning down E 19 St. I never knew what PawPaw was going to say. I walked into the kitchen last Thanksgiving and he immediately told me, "Elise, it looks like your boyfriend has been feeding you well." When we would compliment MawMaw's meals, he would quickly tell us that he was the one who spent hours cooking it. He once told my cousin that he was once a major league baseball player. But PawPaw never had to tease us about cooking or being in the major leagues to get our respect. He was our Hero just because we knew how much he loved us. Lauren- I'll never forget all of the Taco Bell he used to bring me on Saturday nights. It's still my favorite food group. I'll never forget his smile, or the last time I heard him tell me he loved me. I'll never forget watching him reaching for my MawMaw's hand. I'll never forget how I felt when I heard he died. I'll never forget my PawPaw. Elise- I'm so grateful for him teaching my dad how to love his wife, raise his kids, and support his family. He was a fighter and one of the best examples of what a true man is. I cannot even say how grateful I am to have spent the past 20 years with him. I love him forever. Lauren- It's strange to go to his house now and not see him It's been hard.. really hard. He would have loved to have been with us when we gathered together at his house-with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren... and of course, his wife, but when I think about it, he WAS there… in the legacy he left behind. Without him, we wouldn't be here. I'm so thankful for my Paw-Paw, and I hope he has fun in Heaven because after dealing with me as a granddaughter, he deserves it

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Adeline Grace

This is the column I've been waiting to write. Waiting and begging. Believe it or not, I secure permission from my family before discussing their lives with you. Several months ago, I approached my daughter Lauren with today's topic. She asked me to wait until she was ready. And now that she's ready, I've discovered something she wrote in March for one of her college courses. The topic was "Falling in Love." As I read it, I realized that after all the months I waited to write, I still won't, for it is Lauren's own words I'll use. "Over eight billion. That's how many results are found on the internet when the word love is typed on the Google search engine. Love quotes, songs about love, and scriptures pertaining to love will all be displayed and with one single click on the link, you can discover things you may know or may not know about the word love. Unfortunately, sometimes out of those eight billion results, you'll begin to see that not all of the feedback will be positive because not all of our experiences with love will be the happily ever after dream we've dreamed since we were little. More times than not, it seems like we have more wicked witches in our lives than Prince Charmings, and that's just it. We automatically relate love to a relationship between a man and a woman and forget that there are many forms of love. Parents, siblings, and friends are all 'loved ones,' showing the many variations of love. "Lots of questions arise when the word love is mentioned and the following is a popular one: 'What's true love?' I wish I had a dollar for every time I laugh out loud when somebody asks me about anything love or relationship related. I respond, 'Listen to what I say rather than follow in my footsteps. I give good advice, I just don't take it.' Let's just say, it took me a lot longer to find out what it's like to be in love than it should have, but now that I'm head over heels, I guess I can tell you what it's like. "I've never laid eyes on my true love yet, my only real love. I can't listen to the voice or even stare in the eyes of my love, but I can hear a heartbeat. I feel movements all over, and literally have to catch my breath from the constant jabs in my ribs. I've only seen a black and white image on a screen in a doctor's office, and even then, he has to point out her different features for me to recognize what I'm looking at. She's growing just right, and according to the doctor, will be completely healthy at the time of delivery. Yes, I'm in love with my baby girl. Some people don't fall in love until they've been on several dates, but she's stolen my heart from the very beginning, and eight months later, we're still going strong. "When you're in love, you are constantly considering the other person's desires before your own. Every time I ask the waiter for water instead of Dr. Pepper, I know that it must be love for me to sacrifice caffeine. For me, being in love means walking into Gap Kids before the Gap, discussing baby names instead of names of current dating contenders, and eating what my baby needs rather than what I want. "It's hard to forget I'm in love when I have someone inside of me constantly reminding me of her presence with every kick, punch, or hiccup. Every movement is a reminder of life. A life I love, value, and treasure." "Of over eight billion love suggestions, I only need one: Adeline Grace." On April 26th, Adeline's first breath took mine away. She has snuggled into the hearts of our family and friends as we vie for her attention. Lauren has responded to this new life, this new love, with more calmness and confidence than she has ever had. As she faces the challenges of single parenthood, I pray she yields to the wisdom of God for every decision. And I pray for Adeline to have a strong neck. She needs one to support all of the big ole hair bows Lauren makes her wear. Ronny may be reached at

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

It was many years after my childhood when I realized my father was way ahead of his time. He blazed a trail, going where few men had gone before… the kitchen. If we went to school hungry, it certainly wasn't his fault. In fact, it was very difficult to get out of the house without eating breakfast. Don't think he did as I would later do with my own children and point to the Pop-Tarts, or tell them to fix cereal in a plastic cup to eat on the way to school. No way. He insisted we sit down to eat the most important meal of the day. Bacon, eggs, grits, biscuits, fruit, and freshly squeezed orange juice were our breakfast staples. To give us a break from the cafeteria, he would occasionally bring us lunch at school. In addition to the hamburger, fries, and a Coke from Mac's Grill, the bag would also hold a York peppermint patty bought from Donaldson's Drug Store, conveniently located across the street from the bank where he worked. But the candy always smelled like Brut. I concluded that he would buy the candy, put it in his suit pocket where it absorbed the scent of the cologne, then pick up the hamburgers and deliver them to school. This helps to explain why I think of Brut and Dad and hamburgers and St. Peter School, when I see a York Peppermint patty. (Why I can remember all of this, yet walk into a parking lot without a clue as to the location of my car, remains a mystery.) I love celebrations, and am happy to celebrate Father's Day with him this month. I'd also like to wish a Happy Father's Day to the men whose lives I've observed, some from a distance, and some up close. Happy Father's Day… …to the fathers who work 40+ hours per week to house, feed, clothe, and educate their children. On top of that, they volunteer hours of their time at school, church, and in the community. May their diligent example echo for generations to come and urge many others into lives of service. …to the men who have jumped off of the corporate ladder, realizing the money they made was nothing compared to the moments they missed. May they experience the overflowing blessings of God for their commitment to their family. …to the dads who have the wisdom to draw boundary lines for their children and the courage to maintain those boundaries. Remember that the best guards are placed around the most valuable treasures. May they be strengthened in their God-ordained positions. …to the men who, for a season, or for a lifetime, have found room in their hearts and in their homes to care for someone else's child. May they reap bountifully from their giving. …to the fathers who are waiting for their prodigals to come home, or for those whose child has preceded them to our Heavenly home. May they find continual comfort from the Holy Spirit of our God. …to the dads who, at times, were called to also fulfill the role of Mom. This includes my own husband who spent nearly a year cleaning up after I suffered the effects of chemotherapy, taking care of our four young children, and keeping up with his job. He has never, ever, even in the midst of our most lively conversations, brought up all of the sacrifices he's made. May he one day see in himself what I see in him daily. …to the men who have been diligent to train their children in the ways of our Lord. May they find great joy in watching the seeds they've planted bear much fruit. These men may never see their names in lights or as the byline of a best-seller, but no earthly achievements would make me respect them more. They are men of integrity. They do the right thing just because it's the right thing to do, and I believe all of Heaven applauds them. Ronny may be reached at