I love jackets.
I have coats of all sizes and colors and fabrics and patterns.
Yes, I have a bunch.
You see, I have this weird thing about collecting certain things. Like watches – I've got several of those. And blankets – ooo, got a whole lot of those. And flashlights – I love those, too.
It's almost like it doesn't matter how many I have of these items, or if I really need a new one – somehow I am just drawn to collect more.
So, I've amassed a nice, eclectic group of coats. And it's a good thing, too. Finally, my insistent *pack rat gene* has paid off. I can actually wear all of these jackets up here. The weather is finally COLD enough…
But, among all my jackets, among all my favorites, there is one that stands out.
It's a rather dirty, yellowed suede jacket. It's got this lamb-like fleece lining that is clumpy now. The buttons are hanging by a thread (literally). And the hems at the sides are tied with tattered leather string.
I can't remember the last time I wore this jacket – or if I've ever worn it at all.
But it is a prized treasure. With a place of honor in my closet…
Because this jacket belonged to my grandpa – Poppy T.
My mother's parents were just the absolute best. For most of my life, I lived about four hours away from them. But, some of my very fondest childhood memories happened either at their house, or on their visits to mine.
For a long time, Nana and Poppy T lived in Atascadero – a rural community close to San Luis Obispo. They lived in a house on the top of a hill – a house that my grandfather built. He was a carpenter by trade.
I had the BEST adventures up there!
It was in this house that my life-long passion for rocks was born! Poppy T would polish and shape them on his rock machines. I loved watching him work. It was in this house that I learned many faith lessons by watching Poppy T do magic tricks – tricks with a spiritual twist to them. It was in this house that I watched fireworks across the lake, developed an unnatural fear of black widow spiders, and played with toys that used to be my mom's.
It was in this house that I learned that I was accepted and loved – dearly – just the way I was, just because I was alive!
After several years, my grandparents semi-retired to manage a tent/trailer campground in Morro Bay – on the coast. Oh, the fun we had there!
And you know what?! It never mattered how sandy or wet we got while out exploring the shoreline. We were always welcomed into the house to show off the *treasures* we had collected.
And then, of course, there were those wonderful times when my grandparents would come down to visit us. We'd go to Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm, we'd go out to eat, we'd go on all sorts of adventures. But, though those times were great fun, it wasn't what I looked forward to when my grandparents came into town.
It was them.
The sheer joy of being with them.
You see, Poppy T had a wonderful sense of humor. And he was a bit of a scamp! I enjoyed the twinkle he always seemed to have in his eyes, and the smile that was always on his face. He was kind, and gentle, and thoughtful. He was a dedicated husband to my grandma – who spent the last part of her life in a rest home.
But the thing I most remember about my Poppy T is that he loved the Lord. (For a while, he had been the lay preacher at the small chapel in Atascadero – which he also helped to build).
The last time I visited him, he was hardly there anymore – a victim of Alzheimer's disease. But that day, I could tell that he recognized me. And I talked to him about Jesus. As I stared at his gnarled carpenter's hands, my heart was deeply touched. Because, you see, at the name of Jesus my grandpa, my dear Poppy T, smiled.
Deeply, knowingly, lovingly.
He knew me, and he knew his Savior.
Poppy T died in 2002, an old man at almost 97.
Well, his body died.
Because I know for a fact that my grandpa lives – and will live – on and on and on.
I have saved my grandpa's jacket because it reminds me of him. But it also reminds me of his unshakeable faith.
I have saved my grandpa's jacket because somehow it reminds
me of Jesus.
Who accepts and loves me – dearly – just the way I am, just because I’m alive!
A Poppy T Hug!
"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." (Deuteronomy 4:9, NIV)
Do you have any precious memories of your grandparents?
Linked today with:
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY
Darlene at TITUS 2SDAYS
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
***A very (early) Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads out there in Blog Land!***
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"