August 5, 2005

Green Bananas

If you're a friend, family member or frequent visitor to my poetry site, you most assuredly know that my grandfather, Otis, went home to be with his Lord on May 23, 2005. Since the very moment I heard the news I'm almost constantly thinking of him. Recalling shared memories with a man I was crazy in love with is a daily occurrence now. So many things remind me of him in some way. For instance, yesterday while driving down the road I saw numerous round bundles of hay that had been rolled up and ready to sale. That reminded me of him! He once told me after passing by the same scene along a different road, "You know they've outlawed those round bales of hay don't you?" Falling for it completely I replied, "Really? Why?" Without cracking a smile he said, "Because the livestock aren't getting a square meal."

He was such a man of humor. That was his God given gift I believe. In any situation he could always make you smile. It never failed that every time we passed by a cemetery he'd quip, "You know, people are just dying to get in there!" No subject was taboo for him. He could find humor in anything, even his own mortality. During the last months of his courageous battle with lung cancer he told my grandmother not to buy any more green bananas because he "might not be around by the time they ripened".

He was also a prankster. He'd embarrass many people at work, church, where ever by making them think they had hit him in the head with a door. You see, as he would open it for them he would stop it with his foot and his left hand would immediately go up between his forehead and the door. It would all happen so quickly that it actually looked like the door had hit him in the head, with sound effects and all. Or, he'd make a waitress believe that she had brought him faulty silverware by "bending" the fork. He'd hold it on each end and somehow actually make it look like it was bending. Don't ask me how he did it but it looked amazingly real.

In all of his 84 years he never snored either. How do I know you ask? Because he'd be the first to tell you that he "stayed awake one night just to see!" The very last time I had the honor of speaking with him was the night before he passed away. I had called about 9:00pm thinking he would be asleep and I could get an update on his condition from my Mamaw. To my surprise however, he answered the phone. He sounded as though I had awoke him so I asked if I had. In his slow, tender voice he answered, "No, I was just checking my eyelids for holes." He then told my Mamaw I was on the phone and handed it to her. Just typing that and remembering his last words to me brings tears to my eyes. It was only 15 hours later that I would get the call I had dreaded but knew was coming. I cherish that last conversation with him every single day. That's what's going to get me through until I see him again in eternity. Knowing him, by that time he'll have tons of new one liners to make me smile.

I've written numerous poems in honor of and in remembrance of my Papaw. If you're interested, you can read them at

1 comment:

  1. Shane, I finally had a few minutes to actually "play" on the computer - and of course I'm on "hold" with the NCDOT trying to find out if Katie's car is registered in the State of TX or the State of NC - and I'm in a "State of Chaos" trying to figure out who is who and what is what. Since I got married 3 weeks ago, this house is crazier than it ever was, and I didn't think that was possible. Justin moved to Katie's old apartment downtown - Katie moved home after returning from NYC - and she's now registering for classes and I have no idea where she is going to move or even when...and then Dan and I are trying to sort through his stuff, my stuff, Katie's stuff and Justin's stuff - and of course, we have about 22 finches now in the aviary which makes this house sound like the jungle that it is - very rain foresty. Anyway, I am just catching up on your blog and I LOVED the entry about Uncle Otis - August 5th - and you so captured him. What a great writer you are! I will write soon and catch you up on what has been going on from this crazy place. You MUST come visit us soon. We'd love to see you and the kids would have a great time in the pool. Plus, I would love for you to meet Katie and Justin and Dan, of course!
    I'm so proud o you. Keep up the great blogging and I will be back often.




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