The family matter I had to attend to was flying to Albuquerque to see off my grandfather, William Woodrow D. Sr. (my step-dad’s dad) to the next phase. Grandpa was born on April 3, 1923 and died on June 3, 2006. Grandpa was a World War II veteran and a retired USAF NCO and I’m very happy and honored to have followed in his footsteps.
His funeral was presided over by my Uncle Bill, Jr.—a Methodist pastor and Dad’s younger and only brother—and the burial was in the military tradition. At first my uncle kept with the solemnity of the occasion, then he broke out in the tradition of black preachers everywhere—loud, happy and in praise of the Lord--and celebrated the life of his father in the tradition in which the gentleman had lived: “Don’t be lookin’ all sad, because Daddy was a guy who lived large and well.” (A paraphrase.) At that, Uncle tinkled his glass of ice water in manner in which Grandpa would tinkle his glass of gin and Seven-Up when making a point.
Grandpa was a husband (my grandma preceded him in death), the father of seven (two preceding him in death), the grandfather of nine and the great-grandfather of nine.
In the spirit of the good life which Grandpa lead, here are some photos of his family.
Remember these guys (Reed, L, and Julian)?
Well here they are now.
They’re thirteen and fourteen, over six feet and still growing. (Check out Julian’s feet!)
This is Julian’s younger brother, Saevonne (twelve on July 12th).
Of all the great-grandchildren, Saevonne (along with his first cousin Jordyn) took his great-grandfather's death the hardest visibly. However, knowing something about being stoic, it's difficult to say that he was the one who felt it the most.
These are two of Reed’s younger siblings (L, R) Ryan (thirteen) and Jordyn (eight).
The two fight all the time and were doing so before I took the photo. I turned around (in their parents’ Ford Excursion) and asked them to act like they loved each other. This was the best they could do.
And this is Jadyn (2), the youngest sibling of Jordyn, Ryan and Reed.
Jadyn is happy as long as someone is holding her. The cuteness factor allows holding often. :-) She was a little leery of me at first (it was the first time we had met), but the first time I held my arms out, she was up in them immediately. It's the auntie factor, I guess.
All of the boys play basketball and football; at least one plays hockey; another is a budding cyclist. Jordyn plays soccer. Do they do well in school? Yes, though each of the boys has had his problems due to lack of application. All of them are very intelligent--a little too smart, if you ask me. They know things that I didn't know when I was in their age group; a sign of the times.
This is my brother-in-law, TSgt Mark G. (NMANG)--father of Reed, etc.--and my Great-Aunt Esther, Grandpa’s sister.
Aunt Esther said that she wanted to have her picture taken with a young man and Mark was happy to oblige. She is as sweet and adorable as she looks.
This is my Aunt Diana (Dad’s sister) and my first cousins Desmond (fifteen, if you can believe it) and Quentin (twenty; Uncle Bill’s sons).
Everyone decided to dress in light colors. Aunt Esther and I were the only women wearing skirts. I would have loved to have worn my uniform for this occasion, but the buttons didn't quite meet on my blue jacket. (I'm working on that.) I still saluted when 'Taps' was played--as did Mark, of course; I couldn't help it.
This is the commander of the Honor Guard—a first lieutenant—overseeing the folding of my grandpa’s flag. That’s my dad standing in the background.
As my grandpa’s eldest, my dad received the folded flag, but, somehow, I didn’t think that it was proper to take a photo of that.
Grandpa and I hadn't been close, but it was always good to know that he was there leading the family. Now that duty falls to Dad and I know that he's up to it. But, I can only imagine a little bit what it's like for Dad (I felt it when my other uncle passed). However, when someone who has lived a long and fruitful life dies, the only reason to be sad is that the living who loved him will miss that person and that's the sole reason that I am sad. Grandpa loved the Lord and his two sons are preachers of the Word.
In this life, a good legacy is all anyone can ask for.