Angelica Grace Designs Blog

Monday, April 07, 2008


Although he was my Step-Grandpa for 25 years of my life, he was the only "true" Grandpa I really ever knew. Papa Willie needed no introduction.
He could make you laugh at the drop of a hat. As a young girl when I'd pout, his favorite line to say to me was "Do you need a suck bottle?" At the time, I'd get so angry with him for that question. Now days, I look back on it and it is one of the things that makes me smile and laugh out loud about him the most. Another thing that makes me smile about Papa Willie is how much he loved my kids. Brennen and Kenidi were his grand kids - his only grand kids. My Step-Mom never had children so Brennen and Kenidi were it for her and for her parents. Willie always treated them as though they were his "blood great-grandchildren." It was the same relationship in which he treated me as his "blood granddaughter." His eyes would light up and he'd get the biggest grin every time our kids walked thru the door. Seeing the two of them always made his day. He was known for handing out dollar bills to the both of them. Kenidi has a bank full of money just from Papa Willie alone. She idolized that man and the feeling was mutual.
During our drive to Florida, we stopped to eat at a cracker barrel restaurant. On the table was this...
Brennen and Kenidi were mesmerized with this little game. When Brennen asked me how I knew how to play it, I was taken back and flooded with memories. Memories of being a young girl and traveling back and forth to Kentucky with Papa Willie and my parents. Willie was from Kentucky. We'd stop at Cracker Barrels and eat sometimes as we made the drive there and back. Papa Willie taught me to play that game at the Cracker Barrel restaurants when I was just a young tot. He also had one sitting on his end table by his recliner at their house. It sat there for years. It has now become a very vivid reminder of him for me. Amazing how some of life's most precious moments seem so insignificant at the time but end up making such lasting impressions in the grand scheme of things. Who would've ever guessed that this little wooden peg game below would mean so much to me today.
All because of Papa Willie.
While at Cracker Barrel this time, we bought this little game and now have it here in the house with us. It's great for Kenidi when practicing her hand eye coordination therapy. Brennen just loves it period! He finds it intriguing to say the least. For me, its a colorful reminder of Papa Willie and his influence on me throughout my life. Seeings how it was so sunny and much warmer here in Indy today, I decided to grab some fresh Gerber Daisey's from the florist after I got the kids off the bus. We then made a visit to Papa Willie's grave this afternoon. Kenidi added a pink butterfly to his flowers and Brennen left him a blue one. It was a year ago March 17th when he left us. It seems like it was just yesterday. Watching someone take their last breath in life is gut wrenching. It was literally one of the hardest things I've ever had to witness in my 32 years of life. On the other hand, I feel so blessed that we were all there with him as he passed. I miss him - my kids miss him. Ironically, he is buried just around the corner from my house. I pass the cemetery where he rests several times a day and can never go by there without thinking of him and ultimately just smiling.
Oh how I wish my kids could have had more time with him in life.

I know he is waiting for them though-dollar bills in one hand & a suck bottle for me in the other.


Blogger CelticBuffy said...

How wonderful that you had a grandparent in your life like that. We don't use the word "step" anymore. My kids adore their grandma, who is really their father's step mother and no blood relation to them at all. However it makes no difference in their relationship and she is truly their grandmother, even more so than their blood-grandmother, who chooses to ignore their existence. I'm glad you continue to smile at thoughts of your grandpa.

4/07/2008 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Debbie Z. (Brent's Mom) said...

That was very sweet and touching..... I think you should come teach the writing sections of my English classes! As I've said before, you have a gift when it comes to that. You touch a lot of people with your gift of writing, and that's why God gave it to you. (not to mention all the other "gifts" you possess!)
Love you!

4/08/2008 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Cathy said...


Thank you very much for this wonderful tribute to Dad. And thank you for his beautiful flowers. He did love you and the kids very, very much. He always looked forward to seeing all of you. I appreciate you keeping his memory in your hearts. It's easy to forget.

We do love you and the kids like "our own". I don't believe there is any difference. God has blessed me with you, Brent, the kids, and your Dad along with my wonderful family. I wish everyone could be as blessed as me.

I love you very much and so appreciate all you do.

4/08/2008 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Angie,

How wonderful Grandparent memories are!! Tom and I constantly say that we want our kiddos to have those memories, they truly carry on with you through your entire life!!! How sweet and special those memories are!!

As for the game I have the memories of playing this with my dear uncle, we also always played when we went to Cracker Barrel when were traveling south!!!

Thanks for putting a smile on my face by bringing those very special memories to mind!!!

Take care,

4/08/2008 10:50 AM  

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