I was lucky enough to have one set of grandparents who were everything you think of when you consider the perfect grandparents. That isn’t to say that my other grandparents wouldn’t have been like that under different circumstances. They just didn’t have the opportunity.
|Verda and Will McCauley, abt. 1940|
My father was the ninth of eleven children so his parents were much older than my mother’s parents. I never knew Daddy’s mother. She died when he was not quite 16 years old. His father died when I was seven. I remember Papa but not very well. You can make the trip from our house to his in under four hours today but back then it was a much longer drive so we only saw him a couple of times a year. I remember him visiting us once but the memories are faint. Sadly, I remember his funeral much better than I remember him.
|Elmer and Emma Hopkins, 1976|
If one set of grandparents can make up for not really having the other set, Mamaw and Papaw certainly did that. Papaw retired when I was eight years old. Almost every Monday after that, they made the 100-mile drive from Loyall, Kentucky to our house in Mt. Vernon.
In the summer, my brother, sister and I couldn’t wait for them to arrive. During the school year, we knew that when we stepped off the school bus on Monday afternoon, they would be there. They’d spend the night and return home the next day. By the time my youngest sister was born six years later, this was the established weekly routine. We visited them often but not nearly as much as Mamaw thought we should. She really wanted us to come every weekend (even though they were coming back to our house on Monday).
They were always there for every event in our lives. I can remember one time that we sorta wished they weren’t around. Disney World opened when my youngest sister was five years old and my parents thought we should go. The older three of us really had no interest in it so they agreed to let us stay home. At 20, 18 and 17 years old, we were happy to be on our own for a few days with our parents three states away. I doubt that they had gotten much past the Kentucky-Tennessee line heading to Florida when Mamaw and Papaw pulled into the driveway. My grandmother thought it was a terrible idea to just go off and leave us. Whatever plans we had for the week went down the drain but we ate well while our parents were gone.
They were the best.by