Posted by: amylamb | September 3, 2014

Old Man Wright: A Eulogy

Affectionately I called him “Old Man Wright” because he was, in fact, old for my entire life. Born November 13, 1918 up in the hills of east Tennessee, my Grandaddy was a coal-minin’, field-farmin’, truck-drivin’, (Vy-EE-ner)-sausage-eatin’ country boy turned city dweller. He loved bluegrass music, televangelists, cheddar biscuits from Red Lobster, and the good Lord Jesus; but not necessarily in that order.

He was known f267206_630630940280561_446723603_nor his extraordinary musical ability, eating breakfast three times a day, arriving everywhere an hour early, and sending birthday cards twice a year so he wouldn’t miss one. His house usually smelled of bacon and burnt coffee because he rarely remembered to turn the coffeemaker off. Each day he could be found awake at 3:30a.m., tapping his code diligently into a ham radio. He changed every thermostat he saw to 89 degrees fahrenheit regardless of the outside temperature– he considered this his service to society.

Though he never quite figured out how to use a cell phone, he often wrote letters detailing the status of his garden, the contents of his mailbox, and the activities of the cats who lived in his garage. His letters I kept, frequently revisiting them whenever I need a laugh. One of my favorites was written around my 21st birthday, in which he wrote, “go buy yourself a can of snuff.” Politely I declined his request (but proceeded to post it all over social media because it was, in fact, hilarious).

But I digress, for rarely did he end a phone call without reminding me to “remember the good Lord in all you do, and I reckon you’ll be alright.” Some of my earliest memories were made sitting on his knee while his mandolin rested on the other– there I learned the hymns of faith that bore him ever forward.

Older than sliced bread itself (no really, that didn’t come around until 1928), he outlived the Great Depression, five wars, the discovery and subsequent demotion of Pluto, the terms of 15 1/2 presidents, and three pacemaker batteries. He also survived his wife Rebecca by 15 years, though he was never quite the same once she was gone. Regardless, he spoke of her frequently and fondly; eager for the day when he would see her again. While he waited, he prayed he would fulfill whatever “the good Lord” had still for him to do on earth; which perhaps, in his case, it was simply to love and be loved.

I’d say 95 years of that is a pretty good run– A life well-lived; a life well-loved. Nevertheless, I’ll miss my “Old Man Wright.”


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