This trip to Texas just so happened to fall on the 2-year anniversary of my grandfather's death. My sister, aunt and I made a stop this morning to visit his grave and tell him how much we miss him. His death was a long, traumatic experience for all of us. But rather than write about that, I'm going to write about his life as I remember him.
This was taken when he worked at the Toddle House.
He was known to everyone, even those who weren't his grandchildren, as "Paw Paw Eddie". Its who he was, we even had it engraved on his headstone that way. Paw Paw was a dark complected, petite, thin, wiry man, full of life. He was a character for sure. I like to think of him as "spirited" and we all adored him. With jet black hair that he cut himself, he wore it parted on the side or slicked back for most of his life. He didn't really turn gray until he got sick. I don't remember him wearing anything but dark denim jeans with a belt. He always had a white cotton t-shirt under his button up shirt which was often plaid and had pearl snaps. Covered in faded sailor-themed tattoos, most of which were in honor of Lucy, his first love. Lucy is not my grandmother, by the way. He had two sparrows on his chest, a topless pin up style woman that was the length his calf and he always lectured me to NEVER get a tattoo. His shoes were often shiny and black with thin laces. Being a short man, I remember his jeans often being rolled up with a cuff at the bottom. This is the way I will always picture him. That was my Paw Paw.
This is how I remember him always looking. Slick hair, button up shirt, jeans, belt, black shoes.
My grandmother, Jennie, and Paw Paw.
Always the life of the party. Full of energy, he taught me to dance when I was little. He loved to dance and man, he had moves. He could spin you around the dance floor like no one else. I remember him walking on his hands in my living room when I was a kid. He had to have been in his 60s at this point. The BEST story teller I've ever met. He could make you laugh until you cried with his jokes and antidotes. He always had an answer for everything, and he would tell you what he thought. Always with a cigarette in one hand gesturing to make a point. He smoked like a chimney and with every exhale of smoke warned me to never start this bad habit. I couldn't tell you how many awesome cars he owned through the years. In the end, he drove a gold mini van. The irony of his life. Gambling and horse races where his other two loves. Who knows how much money he won and lost over the years. But enjoyed every second of it.
Left to right: My grandmother's twin brother, George, unknown woman, Jennie (my grandmother), and Paw Paw.
Paw Paw was one of a kind in every way. I still think of him daily. I miss him terribly every second and always will.
Who knows where he got this horse. But doesn't he look proud?