Sunday, April 1, 2007

Greatest Man to Walk the Earth - Used a Crutch

OK, there's Jesus, and He didn't use a crutch, but let's talk about the OTHER greatest man to ever walk the Earth - My Grandpa Edwards. I wanted to host a photo of him, but don't have one that I can look up online. He was many things, but being online was not one of them. He wasn't a soldier, never actually owned much, had a fishing pole though, and he did claim to be Superman; and yes, I believed him.

Papa was 71 years old and 3 days when I first met him. I guess I probably didn't meet him for another several days actually, not until they let Mom take me home from the hospital where I was born 4 weeks premature and a little on the dead side. Papa and Grandma allowed Mom and Dad and the four of us kids to live in their 2 bedroom, 1 bath, no car garage home near downtown Oklahoma City while Dad looked for a place in the burbs to raise his new and vastly overcrowded family. Grandpa, for his part, let me sleep in his room - the back porch! I know that had to have gone over well with the two dominate women in the home; however, Grandpa pulled rank - he always did. He insisted, and that was that. He even agreed to stop smoking if I was in the room in my little laundry basket where I slept when I wasn't in his arms directly.

I knew nothing about a two-legged Grandpa growing up, all the good ones, mine, had only one real leg - anyone claiming their Grandpa had two legs must have been jealous because the BEST Grandpas only had one, and I knew this - you guessed it - because HE said so. Grandpa said a lot of things, and that was one of them. He also told me I was his favorite grandkid, and of course, I believed that too. (Knowing now of course that he probably whispered that lie to everyone of his 25 grandchildren, but at the time - at the time.) Grandpa kept a little book in his drawer by his bed and sometimes he would pull it out and read a little from it - never letting me see it fully, he just wanted me to trust him. It was a book about me. It had my name in it, he showed me that. He said it was a book about only the good things and that it was all about how I was going to grow up and be a world-famous horse jockey - then he changed it one day, on a whim, and said the book magically changed the words on him. Suddenly, the book now claimed that I was going to play baseball and be the first girl pitcher in the major leagues. (Now I knew he was lying! I liked football!)

Grandpa took me with him everywhere because he sat in my Dad's car in the front seat and I sat right between them. He paid for every Orange Crush I ever drank I think, and I drank plenty! He gave me a nickel when I did backflips for him - and I earned a lot of cash that way too. When I was 9 he lost his wooden/fake leg in the lake while we were fishing - it threatened to float away - and he sent me out after it. That's the day I realized I could swim - I paddled my way out to the leg and retrieved it dragging it back by my teeth - it had a strap. He laughed! I laughed! They don't make Grandpas like him anymore...I got the last really good one.

Papa and I sat in the back of the church one day - 40th Street Baptist Church; and he told me not to pray too hard. I thought it was a funny thing to say really since God liked to hear from us. Not too hard he said, God knew me well enough to know what I wanted. I just had to be honest about it and not lie and say I was always good and deserved to be heard. When I think back on that day in church I realize that he was talking about himself too - but he was always perfect, though - always.

When he decided to stop fishing and die I was really upset about it. He gave me a good talking to that day too, and even though I wasn't quite ready to let that old man leave me - he told me not to cry too hard about it. He said and I quote "I know you well enough to know what you want, and I can't give it to you. You'll just have to see me when you get there, but I can tell you this - if God will let me, I'll just have one leg so you can recognize me when you do come up to visit."

The greatest man that I ever SAW walk the Earth, used a crutch or a cane everytime I saw him do it.

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