Last weekend our family took a couple of days and drove 11+ hours (in a mini-van, with a pregnant woman and two preschoolers) to our home town of Milan, TN for a little vacation time. I guess “vacation time” is as good of a description as any. Family reunions are not necessarily restful or relaxing, but we enjoyed our time and trip nonetheless.
My parents moved back to the Milan area several years ago after serving churches in Alabama, Ohio and South Carolina. Since her high school graduation Kim’s folks have move from Tennessee to Kentucky, from Kentucky to Missouri, from Missouri to Florida and have spent the past 5 or so years in the suburbs of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. So, it was good for our two children – Laura Kate and Jack – to have the opportunity to see both sets of grandparents on this short Labor Day weekend trip.
Watching my two kids thoroughly enjoy being with their “Grandmother and Grandaddy Robinson” and “Nanna and PeePaw” brought back a lot of wonderful memories that I have of my time spent at my “Nanny and Big Pa’s” House. I loved spending time there on Lonas Road in Knoxville with them.
My Big Pa taught me a lot, and bailed me out of trouble on more than one occasion. I learned a lot from him about life and death. (He was a marine who had fought at Iwo Jima and in Korea.) He has had a greater impact on my life than I probably even have the ability to realize. As a matter of fact he even let me work with him on his construction crew a couple of summers during my teenage years. Those hard, long, hot days hammering and sawing and sweeping up instilled in me a work ethic and a great appreciation for those who work hard physically to provide for their family.
While nobody is perfect, my Nanny was just about the closest to perfection of anybody in my life as a young boy. There was nothing that she couldn’t do – in my young mind. I loved her and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that she loved me. She showed it in so many ways.
* Whenever we showed up from traveling to see them – no matter what time of day or night it was – there was a fresh banana pudding and homemade chicken and dumplings waiting in the kitchen for me.
* She knew how to read to me and tell me stories.
*Whenver I was with her I felt like she was totally, completely focused on and paying attention to me.
* She was always interested in and encouraging of my creative side – the stuff that I made or the wild outfits I would put on.
* She would help me with hard jobs.
* She sent me cards by snail mail for birthdays and holidays – and ever for no special days.
* She would always slip me money when my Big Pa wasn’t looking and tell me to get something that I wanted.
* She had simple rules and enforced them without fear or favor.
* She took me to meet family members that I had not really heard about or met before. (This has given me a greater sense of who I am and where I’ve come from.)
* She saw in me things that I didn’t even know were there – and encouraged me in them.
* Again, she loved me and I knew it. I loved her, and she knew it.
* Most of all, she loved Jesus and it showed.
Well, the vacation is over and we’re back home in South Carolina, but LK and Jack are still talking about their time and experiences with their grandparents. Laura Kate can quit talking about fishing with her Grandaddy and Jack wants to go back to PeePa’s house everytime we get in the car. Just further proof that grandparents are great!