Grandpa’s funeral was Saturday, February 18 in Searcy, Arkansas. Grandma and Grandpa lived in Little Rock for a long time and retired to Searcy several years ago. I loaded up my family on Friday to start heading to Arkansas. There was a visitation planned for Friday night and I wanted to make it there in time for that event. I was actually excited to go. I was anticipating seeing a lot family that I had not seen in years.
We made it to Searcy just after the visitation began. As we drove up to the Downtown church building, I was surprised at the amount of cars in the parking lot. There were a lot of people who came because they loved my Grandma and Grandpa and our family. Of course, all of my aunts and uncles were there and 18 of 19 grandchildren were able to make it too. There was family from as far as Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas. There were several families who are part of my parents’ church in the Dallas area who drove up. There was even some family friends from College Station, TX. I was amazed how many people came. It was fun getting to see and catch up with cousins who I hadn’t seen in over ten years. It was special getting to see and hug my aunts and uncles as they mourned their daddy. It was inspiring and humbling seeing my grandmother stand there and greet all the people who came to pay their respects to Grandpa. It was a special time.
The next day was the funeral. I walked in with the rest of the family. It seemed like a quarter of the room was reserved for us. All 5 of my dad’s brothers and sisters or their spouses, including Dad, had a part in the service. It was really special getting to hear each of them talk about Grandpa, share his story, and point to the legacy he and my Grandma have been blessed with and helped create. Grandpa was a preacher in part because when he was a child a garbage man had the courage to invite him to vacation Bible school and a Sunday school teacher had the heart to stop by and check on the kids. Grandpa spent his life teaching music and preaching the Gospel of Jesus. He worked in churches all over the US and later in life traveled overseas often to share Jesus with people in other countries. I was especially touched by what my uncle Dean said at the funeral. He quoted from Revelation 14,
“Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”
Toward the end all the grandchildren went to the front and sang a couple of Grandpa’s favorite songs, My God and I and The Lord Bless You and Keep You. It was a special time.
After the funeral a meal was prepared for the family in another room. We ate together and had a special time to share special memories of Grandpa. We talked about riding in the car on the way to Sunday worship growing up with the big hills that felt like a roller coaster and how Grandpa would press on the gas to make it more fun. A couple of the grandkids talked about living with Grandpa and Grandma for short periods and how they would always eat breakfast together, every morning, bacon and eggs. I remembered how Grandpa always read us Twas the Night Before Christmas when we were at his house on Christmas eve. It was a special time.
More to come…