Ten years ago today, my Great Grandpa Sparks went to live with Jesus.
He and Grandma Sparks were my “first best friends.” As a little girl, there was nowhere I wanted to stay other than Grandma and Grandpa’s, and even at their age (mid 70’s at that time), they kept me. Grandpa owned “the station” in town – it was sold and changed to M&M’s during my high school years, and torn town for the new city hall – and I remember “playing dominoes” and drinking Chocolate Soldiers. I remember him telling me the importance of knowing how to check the air in my tires (which I do know how to do, even if I’m not the best at car things) and I can still close my eyes, take a deep breath and remember the way he smelled. I remember Grandpa’s hugs and curling up on his lap in his chair, and knowing not to, under any circumstances, touch his feet! I will never see striped overalls, tan button up shirts or those old-school glasses without thinking of my Grandpa. He lived a life full of adventure and I loved his stories – especially when they were told while sitting outside drinking Grandma’s Sweet Tea.
The thing I am most thankful for about his life on earth is his salvation. I remember as a little girl that Grandma told me he wasn’t a Christian. Well, determined little me was going to join Grandma in praying every day for him. I was so over the moon excited when he accepted Christ (I get to tell that story about two of my grandpas – what faithfulness God has that at no matter what age, you’re never too old to know the love of Christ for the first time!!).
So while yes, I miss him (and Grandma) every single day – especially when I catch an episode of The Price is Right, find a Chocolate Soldier in a store, when the tire air checker light in my jeep comes on, and especially on days where I have something I want to share with one of them – I am so thankful to celebrate his life today!
My first best friends taught me so much about life and love. They raised a big, incredible family together, and even now that they’re gone, we are still a very close and pretty awesome group. The biggest blessing they left each of us was definitely each other, and I am thankful for that daily.
PS – I love you all, my sweet family – but don’t think for a moment I won’t fight you for the good presents Monday night! 🙂