I was on my couch this morning and honestly grunted as I rose to make another cup of coffee. I reminded myself of my grandfather, William August "Gandy" Wilmer. This was one male role model in my life that even to this day I miss with all my heart.
Gandy was an awesome man. He was lean, and stood over 6 feet tall. He loved the Cincinnati Reds, his dogs (Nikie, and Dodie), his Parakeet 'Bill', cooking, growing tomatoes, his Pall Mall non filtered cigarettes, and my Nana or 'Lib' as he called her.
As a young child I would beg to go to his house in Charlotte every chance I got. At night I would sleep in his bed, in the valley behind his back because he was heavier than me and I would roll towards him when he laid down to sleep.
He would lay in bed if I was still awake and tell me stories of growing up in and around Ft. Thomas, KY. He talked about making A-Frame traps to hunt for rabbits and small game, and how he used to swim and raft in the Ohio River. Mark Twain was one of his favorite writers, and Huckleberry Finn reminded him of his Childhood. He talked about meeting and knowing Harlan Sanders. To Gandy, he was a friend that sold chicken along one of his sales routes. As a young man, Gandy was a traveling salesman in hardware and lumber, if I remember right. In his later years he and Nana had a Market Research Company, and he drove a Yellow Cab at night around Charlotte, NC, just because he loved it. He finally gave that up after being rob at gun point.
Aside from grunting like a man in his 70's this morning reminding me of Gandy, I now have the chair in my house that Gandy used to sit in everyday. I can look over at the chair and it reminds me of the guy that used to stand for hours in his kitchen making some of the BEST spaghetti, beef stew or any other dish he chose to cook. From him came some awesome recipes, and several hours of being able to watch him cook. He wrote nothing down and adjusted with ease any recipe according to the number of people eating. Cooking is the one thing I can say I picked up and learned to love from my grandfather.
I spent nearly 3 days getting up and down, sitting on a stool in my kitchen because I cannot stand for any extended periods of time, to cook a meal for my wife and her family members for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was complete except for the absence of my step-daughter, Katie, her husband Adam, and her two children Jayde, and Maddox.
Although I hurt for days afterwards, I was in hog heaven watching this crew enjoy a large turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs and an apple pie. Everything was made from scratch, and made to perfection. To me, Thanksgiving, and Christmas meals and family and friend get-togethers are traditions that are the thread that holds families and communities together.
Once a year during the months of November and December, families come together and reunite for what normally is a feast in most homes. Lately though, I have been discouraged by the things I see and hear today that remind me that America is no longer Baseball, Apple Pies, and Chevrolet. Parents have failed and are failing to teach and pass on traditions that have been around for generations and lately is has been politically correct to dismiss or disrespect some of these old traditions.
I don't think it is too late to stop the downward spiral but as I said before it has to start at home. There has to emerge the senses, of worth, pride and respect that used to reside in every home and neighborhood throughout America and that is going to be tough. Not impossible but tough.
I see and I recognize these qualities from time to time and I pray they continue to make a comeback in every home across this nation.
I mentioned earlier my step-daughter was not with us on this past holiday. She had obligations of work and was unable to make the trip to see her family. However, I was so proud of her when I heard just yesterday that she and her husband prepared a Thanksgiving meal at home for their children.
Janit said that Katie and Adam both feel traditions were important, and that she, Katie wanted to pass them down to her children. This makes me proud to be a part of this family. Janit and her ex, Frank did an awesome job of instilling traditions and a sense of family value in their two children. I am confident that both kids (adults now) will continue to teach their children the importance of traditions regardless of what they are, throughout their lives.
If this was practiced in all homes across America, this nation would again flourish and prosper. People have lost the senses of worth, pride and respect but it is still exists. It can be seen from time to time and that gives you another long lost sense, called HOPE.