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Brotherhood at its finest

My grandfather was more spontaneous than I could ever dream of becoming.  On a moment's notice, he would instruct my sister and me to get in the truck.  We knew better than to ask where we were going.  It wouldn't have mattered anyway.  He didn't know either.

It might be an adventure to a fishing hole he used to frequent when he was a little boy himself.  The fishing poles and tackle were always available in the back of his pick-up truck.  He might take us to visit an old home-bound friend.  He might drive us around the soybean-lined country roads of the eastern shore of Maryland for hours with no destination at all.  He might tell us stories, or he might sit silently while I passed the time by watching his keychains swing to and fro in the ignition.

One of these adventures took us an hour from my grandfather's tiny home town to the Shad Landing State Park.  He took us down the pier and we set up lines for crabbing, which were nothing more than pieces of chicken tied to the end of a string that we tied to one of the pilings.  He struck up a conversation with just about every single person on the pier that day.  I can honestly say that I know where my mom gets that trait.  I wiped sweat off my brow as I watched him help a friend he hadn't met more than five minutes prior reel in a sting-ray from the waters of the Pocomoke River.

After a few hours of that, we loaded up in the truck and headed home.  I don't even remember if we actually caught any crabs.  I guess it really doesn't matter.  The memory remains.

On the ride home, down one of the more highway-like roads, my grandfather suddenly pulled over onto the shoulder and hopped out of the truck.  I watched with bewilderment at the fact that his was not the only car on the shoulder.  They all were.  I peered out the window trying to figure out what was going on. I saw a highway, lined with men and some women standing at attention, hats off, arms at their sides.

Out of respect.

You see, there was a funeral procession going by.  Every car in line had their flashers and headlights on, following the car in front of them slowly, stretching for as far as the eye could see, escorted in the front and back by police cars.

Even though I was so young, the gravity of that moment hit me at the core.

It wasn't just a person here or there.  It was every single vehicle on the road, pulled over to the side.  Showing respect for the life that was just lost.  And the families who were grieving that loss.

It was such a symbol of love.  For a fellow man or woman.  One that they didn't even know.

What a beautiful illustration of brotherhood that was and remains for me.

I am so grateful to have known my grandfather's beautiful soul.  This is just one of many amazing memories I have of that man, who taught me so very much about life in the seventeen years I was privileged to share with him here on earth.

And what an exciting promise it is for me to know that when I get to heaven, my grandfather and every single one of my brothers and sisters in Christ will be lining the highway, standing at attention...just waiting to greet me.

Unwrapping this gift alongside so many others today...

tuesdays unwrapped at cats


4 comments:

Denise said...

What a wonderful tribute to your grandfather. He must have been a mighty man. Thanks so much for sharing a piece of him with us today. You brought tears to my eyes with your wonderful words.

Sharon Kirby said...

Jennie - This was beautiful! I knew both of my grandfathers well into my adult life - that was truly a privilege. I have so many great memories of them. I'm glad that you enjoyed a special relationship with your grandfather - they just added something to our lives, didn't they? I LOVED the funeral procession moment - how touching. And to know that when we enter heaven, we have a great greeting awaiting us...with Jesus leading the way...AWESOME!!

GOD BLESS!

Sarah said...

I love that image, all those people, paying respect . . . and the image you tie with it. Beautiful!

Debbie said...

"And what an exciting promise it is for me to know that when I get to heaven, my grandfather and every single one of my brothers and sisters in Christ will be lining the highway, standing at attention...just waiting to greet me."

My favorite part.

I love this. I would have liked your grandfather. I am positive of that.

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