My grandfather grew up within walking distance of where I grew up. It was rural, and his family had twelve children. He used to talk of smashing tin cans on their feet to clank around in for fun. His life was one of no frills, and he learned of gardening, hunting, and fishing firsthand. He said that he didn't fight with his older brothers because he didn't want to rip the clothes that would one day be his hand-me-downs. The old field in the woods behind my parents house was the neighborhood ball field, and he and my cousin's other grandpa would sit for hours on Thanksgiving Day and talk for hours about their memories of playing ball. Sometimes they would even have faded team photos to share.
At seventeen years old he lied about his age to join the army, and instead of being sent to the Korean war, he made the baseball team. He traveled around Germany playing baseball, and he loved to tell me about the different places he had been (I was in Germany for only 10 days during high school, but I had seen many of the same places where he used to visit). When he returned, he married my grandma. They had four children. The second youngest is my dad.
Although there isn't a day that passes where I don't wish I could talk to him, ask him questions, listen to his stories, and watch him play with my girls, I'm mostly thankful. I'm thankful for the time I had with him, and the many things he taught me from swinging a golf club to sifting soil (a trick which I plan on using in my garden this spring). I'm thankful for his devotion to me and my brother and cousin and later to my kids. You could tell that he saw time as very precious, and he was always willing to give of himself to teach us something, give us something, or just to spend time with us. That October day last year is frozen in my mind. Insignificant details that would be otherwise forgotten are burned into my memory. He died in the woods behind my parents house. He went for a quad ride. He didn't crash or anything. He had stopped, and his heart was just too weak. He was done. He went peacefully in the woods that he loved and hunted and fished and played ball.
In Memory of Sam Davis 1933-2011
|Pap and My Daughter Ana|
|Pap and My Daughter Addie|
|Grandpap with Me and My Brother|
|Grandpap and Me- My grandma is in the door behind us.|
|Sam (left) and His Brother Tom|
I miss you Grandpap.