Sunday, February 20, 2011

Schmaltzy Sunday

I was going to write about my mom today. However, after spending the afternoon with my papaw, who is in failing health. I decided that I should write about him. (Sorry Moma, next week.)

On June 28, 1915, Grady Montgomery Holland was born to Jerry & Hettie Holland, farmers and gardeners and "folks that took care of what they had."  World War 1 had been well underway as it began in 1914, with three years left to go. Woodrow Wilson was President.

Growing up in Franklin, life was slow, but hard.  In a world of farming, gardening and manual labor, there was always something for Papaw and his five siblings to do around the house.  In 1929, life got even harder. The stock market crashed which led the nation and eventually the world into what we know as The Great Depression.  Papaw was 14.  The nation emerges from the Depression in 1939.  But its celebration was short lived as Hitler invaded Poland, thus the beginnings of World War II.  Papaw was 24.

In 1942, Papaw was drafted to serve in WWII.  He trained at Fort Benning then he was able to come back to Franklin for a 30-day furlow.  It was 1943.  While he was home, he met a man who invited him over for supper and to "make music" at his house.  Papaw went and met Betty Stewman, one of man's daughters.  (She is now referred to as Mamaw.)  At the end of the month, Papaw went to New York where he and his fellow soldiers sailed to England, a sail of 21 days.

While in the Army, Papaw was a sharp-shooter.  His friend, Cotton, was the driver of his tank.  They were best friends while serving.  We all have heard many stories of their friendship, camaraderie and mischief. Cotton is a familiar name in Papaw's house.  Papaw served in Germany from 1942-1945 when the war ended.

Papaw & Mamaw got married after the war, they moved around to here and there, and settled into Franklin to begin their family.  Together they have four children: Daddy, Randy, Marianna, & Jesse and their family has continued to grow.  Papaw & Mamaw have 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren, all because two people fell in love. We are all thankful for the investment that these two have poured into the life of our family. To us, they are our Legacy.

Throughout his 95.5 years, Papaw has seen 22 different men take the office of the President of the United States (16 of which he was able to vote.)

Recently, on Veteran's Day 2010, Papaw was presented with his medal he had earned while in service.

After WWII, Papaw had the option of staying longer to receive his medals or to go home. As many others, he opted to go home, to see his family and live a civilian life.   Finally, 64 years later, Papaw was presented with five medals. He was presented with the flag that had flown over the State Capitol on behalf of the North Carolina State Congressman, Heath Shuler.

Several of our family were able to make it and watch on as Papaw accepted his medals and flag. It was a proud moment to be able to watch the man who has invested into all of us in so many ways receive something that is to be valued, appreciated, and respected.

Today, Papaw is in failing health.  Matt and I had a visit with him this afternoon.  He was doing relatively well considering he is 95 years old, but since Christmas he has really gone down hill.  He is pretty much bedridden at this time and it looks as if Hospice will be coming in this week to help Mamaw with the lifting, moving around, etc that Mamaw is struggling to do on her own.  I know it is only a matter of time as to when Papaw will be taking his last breath here on earth and his first in the presence of our Lord.  But in the meantime, any prayers for his comfort and Mamaw's strength would greatly be appreciated. 

As a family, we are so proud of Papaw, regardless to what he is to each of us: Husband, Daddy, Papaw.

A couple years ago on a trip to the top of the mountain.

Papaw and I at Nancy & Brandon's Bridal Shower

Papaw and Mamaw at Nancy's wedding.

Veteran's Day about 3-4 years ago.

Veteran's Day 2010

Mom & Papaw

Papaw and I at the Parade

Obviously, this is Papaw's 93rd Birthday cake.
(That's Mamaw & Papaw's picture when they were younger on the Right.)

(I must give credit to my sister, Nancy, for the majority of this post.  Nancy already had Papaw's life chronicled on her blog, so I borrowed from her.  You may see her posts here.)


(Schmaltzy Sunday is where I write with "cheesy sentiment" about a person, place or thing that means a whole-heck-of-a-bunch to me. More than likely this person, place or thing has helped to mold me into the person I am today. To find out more on what Schmaltzy Sundays are about, read this post. )

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