I loved him very, very much. Being the first grandchild on both sides, I was very spoiled! I love the fact that with all my grandparents I could do no wrong. It didn't matter what I did, they all would come to my rescue. I had a very special relationship with him. Everybody always teased me saying I was his favorite. He had a way of making everybody feel special. My dad is A LOT like him. He was a good, spiritual man. He loved life and he loved teasing and joking with everyone. He was tall, but it was his personality that made him seem so "big." He would walk into a room and before he walked out, he had talked to everybody.
He would have given his last dime to help someone in need. He would take anybody that had been knocked down and just needed a chance and he would do whatever he could to help them. He just had a way with people. I have told a couple of stories about him on other posts, but there are so many I don't even know where to start. I keep saying I would love to get together all of them and put them in some kind of book for all of his great grandchildren to have. Everybody that knew him has a story.
He loved his Coors light. Some of the best stories have to do with his drinking. A friend of our family told me, my mom, and sister a story the week we lost him. He was over doing some things in the house to make it easier for Tom to get around. David had known Tom all his life. He told us about a horse that Tom decided to ride one day after a few too many. He said Tom got on the horse and it bucked him off of it. Well, and this is going to sound bad but you really had to know him to know how harmless he was, he decided to go into the house and get his gun and show that horse who was boss. While he was gone to get his gun, David (I can't remember if anyone else was with him) took that horse and hid it. He said he would go feed it and kept it hidden for a few days until Tom Ed decided not to shoot it.
This was so many years ago. Gun laws have changed today, but Tom Ed always knew where his gun was. That was the way it was at that time. I remember one time when I was probably 4, my mom stepped outside our house and stepped on a snake. Tom Ed lived right up the road and he came down with his gun promising to find it and shoot it!
He always liked spoiling all his grandchildren. He bought all the boys four wheelers one time. One of my cousins had an accident and broke his leg. Tom decided maybe they were too dangerous and took them back, but he gave the boys the money he spent on them instead of just taking them back. We would all go on vacation to Daytona and he would take all of us to the Salty Dog. If there were other kids around, he would take them too. He had a soft spot for any kid and would have not taken any of us if he couldn't take us all.
This is a picture from that trip. There were a group of rappers that stayed at the hotel we always stayed at. The picture is from around '88. I can't remember who they were. If you know, please tell me. The boys are from the left, my cousin Adam, our friend Derrick, my cousin Joseph, and my brother Ty. This is just one of the fun times we had with Tom. I have much better pictures of him, but I like remembering things like this.
I have to tell this story because it is the only time I ever remember my mom really getting mad at him. He loved her and made sure she knew it. She was crazy about him, but I still remember this day. I was about 10, my sister 7 or 8, and my brother 2 or3. He came over one day and gave me and my sister really pretty heart shaped necklaces with diamonds. They were really pretty and a big gift for no reason. He gave my little brother, Ty, a fake flower. He asked him why and Tom Ed told him because he was a blooming idiot. My brother laughs about it. Some of you readers probably think that is the worst thing you have ever heard. Those of you who knew him know that was just him and there wasn't anything mean about him. Believe me, he loved Ty and he more than made up for that one time over the years. My mom got SOOOOOOO mad at him though!
He was a mess. He had a larger than life personality. He truly enjoyed life and (contrary to what you might think from the story above) tried his best to make sure everybody around him did too.
It absolutely broke my heart to lose him. There is a hole in my heart that can't be replaced. Whether I was his favorite or not, I loved him so very much and it still hurts so much.
This is him and my nephew, Walt. I think Walt was about 1 in this picture. Today is his 9th birthday, so Happy Birthday, Walt!
Probably the hardest part is I felt the same way when I lost my grandmother. People say it gets easier in time, but I don't think so. The scary part for me is that I still have two grandparents I love very, very much and I know there will be two more times I will feel the same hurt and loss. But, I do know not to take them for granted and to enjoy them. And, they are fun! Grandparents are true, guardian angels on earth, blessing!