i finished this last night. i posted it but didn’t share it on Facebook. i wanted to proof it after a good night’s sleep. He was a good man. Happy Birthday, Jimmy Jewell.
i woke up thinking about it. Been thinking about it all day. Have been intending to write something, post something, maybe an old photograph or two.
You see, he would have been 105 today. Up until six years and three months ago, i thought he had a great chance to make it to today.
i have celebrated him in many ways before and after his passing. i have spoken of the incredible changes he saw, experienced in his life: born in a town that at that time in 1914 had two paved streets, only a handful of new fangled motor driven vehicles, limited electricity, limited telephone service if any, and most of the homes having outhouses and wells. He saw a lot of change.
i have written of how he was a good man. i have written of how he was loved by many. i have written of how he was a member of the “Great Generation” and how he chose to volunteer to defend his country and spend two years away from his wife and his newborn son named after him to do that defending in the Southwest Pacific.
He did have faults. He has expressed his assessment of his faults with this son, his daughter, and his youngest son. He was ashamed of not graduating from high school, not being a great reader even though he was the smartest man i have known.
i, my sister, and my brother have heard him cry.
Perhaps the most poignant moment in my relationship with him was when his wife was in the hospital with the possibility of not leaving, and while i was there to help them, he and i said good night. He retired to their bedroom, and i remained in the adjacent family room to watch the end of a baseball game. i heard him crying, heard him praying to his lord for the love of his life. My brother heard the same thing when he and i swapped the assistance role. i cried then, and every time i remember, i cry again.
His life was his wife and his family. The children, the grandchildren, and the great grandchildren were his greatest love, and his greatest, along with his wife’s, reason for being, living just shy of 99 and 97 respectively.
Not all was perfect at 127 Castle Heights Avenue in Lebanon, Tennessee, but there was never a question of love. And of all of the people i have met and known in my life, there are few, if any who have given more love or been more loved than him.
And he loved his wife.
And there was family. Family. And the world was good, not perfect, but good. And he was the epicenter of it all. Happy 105th, Daddy.