Monday, June 10, 2013


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:

Darlene at TITUS 2SDAYS

***A very (early) Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads out there in Blog Land!***

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. This was so sweet Sharon!

    I cried.

    And then I went into my closet, took out a jewelry box and placed an old tarnished ring on my finger. It is missing some stones, but it is a treasure non the less...It belonged to my Gramma who used to rock me in her old rocking chair and sing me hymns.
    Thank you for this!
    Blessings and love~ Lisa

  2. I'm glad you have his coat to 'hold' his memories. Why is it some the best ones have that horrible disease? Glad you had great memories. sandie

  3. A beautiful story, Sharon - and yes - tears welling up. Bless his heart - 97 years old! I am always touched by our elder citizens - how many years they have lived and how much they have seen. I collect old photos of people and wonder about their lives - and how they might have known Jesus. How they met the trials in their era. Such a gift your Poppy gave to you. Such a peace to know you'll see them again. I am not so sure on my part. Blessings to you, friend. Taking joy this day - for I don't like the other option.

  4. What a warm, lovely story! A piece of clothing a person wore while on this earth seems to make the memories of them more living than anything else does, doesn't it? Especially if it's something like that coat that, worn often and a seeming part of them. My mother's aprons were like that. :) Thanks for sharing this.

  5. That is a treasure.

    I love that your grandfather gave you so much love and was such a wonderful example for you. One of my grandfathers died when I was very young, and the other was a wonderful, wonderful man but very quiet. I think of him as the silent partner in my grandparents' marriage. I envy you your memories. I also wish that my own father hadn't died so young. (He was in his early 60s). My girls have missed out on so much.

    Sorry to be so late with this. Having enough physical and computer problems to make me avoid the computer. I am getting a new one though. THANK GOD.

  6. Thank you for sharing your sweet tribute to your Grandpa T at "Tell me a True Story." The love that was shown to you by your grandparents reminded you of Jesus. That old jacket is a true reminder of your Grandpa's love for you as his arms wrap you in his big hug.

  7. Sweet! I love this story. My grandfather also had Alzheimer. His dying was the beginning of my life with Jesus Christ. Would he know, there in heaven?

  8. A special memory, indeed. This is bringing memories of my 98+ year old Mama who just passed away this past January, still quite fresh to my heart and mind. We endured some hard things during the years she came to live nearby, but love always overarched everything, for which I am so grateful. And then her Pop, my Grampa, he was a special man, coming to see us for 6 weeks every year form Chicago. He was a bricklayer and loved to teach my Daddy (and us of course!!). Anyway, this is special for me as I will meander down my memory lanes with Grampa and Mama today for a bit.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  9. Hi Sharon, what a beautiful post. I have things here at home simply because they remind me of my grandparents. I generally don't hang on to too much. I am capable of getting rid of stuff, but some stuff....nope, they will stay with me for good. I love mostly how you related the best of your grandpa, with the Lord, and His amazing acceptance of us as His children. God bless my friend

  10. This is just a wonderful piece. I have a sweater of my father-in-law and it is very special to me...he died and went to be with the Lord in his new body.
    This just encourages me to make time for my grandson and pour into his life memories that are earthly treasures, but mainly heavenly ones.
    What a precious piece.

  11. Precious memories sweet friend. Every summer, I would spend a week with my grandma. Everyday, she would dress me up, walk me down the road to her friends house, have me stand on the coffee table, and sing amazing grace.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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