Thursday, January 31, 2008

Clear, sunny day

"You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you."
- Psalm 86:5

During the past two trips back to Baton Rouge, I have been listening to Tony Dungy's book Quiet Strength. Tony Dungy is the coach of the Indianapolis Colts, last season's Super Bowl champion. Prior to his team's victory, he had recently experienced the loss of three very important people in his life. His mother, a public school and Sunday school teacher, passed away after a long debilitating battle with diabetes. She inspired him as well as her students to reach their GOD-given potential by motivating them with her selfless and loving attitude. As a young man, Tony even recalled the first time he ever beat his athletic mother in a race around the yard as an example of her encouragement for him to become involved in athletics.

Following the death of his mother, Tony's father passed away only a couple of years later from leukemia. He recalls how his dad taught him to be a man of integrity and strong Christian character throughout his lifetime. His dad, a science professor1 and former WWII Tuskegee airman2, spent quality and quantity time with his kids which Tony stated has shaped him a coach and a father.

As I've listened to the attributes of Tony's parents and how they've shaped his life, I'm reminded of the attributes of my own parents and grandparents. As a kid, I spent many summer vacations over at my grandparents' house and enjoyed catching lizards and bugs. Some of my fondest memories of my MawMaw are when she would take us to the dollar theater in town and spend time with us during vacation Bible school at Goodwood Baptist Church. By collecting coke cans and visiting the food bank, she taught us how anyone could give to those in need as long as they had the desire and heart.

My PawPaw enjoyed tinkering with various mechanical and electronic parts to build his inventions; which were usually geared toward keeping squirrels out of this bird feeders and fruit trees. He was a man that stood firm on his statements, yet also only made them when he was fairly certain he was correct. He spent time in the Navy during WWII, yet it wasn't until the past few years that he began to recall to us the events that happened during his time in the service.

As his grandson, I knew he loved me as well as my uncles, aunts, and cousins. Most of the time when I stopped by his house, he would tell me to wait a minute as he retrieved an interesting gadget or LSU memorabilia gift that had made him think of me while looking through a garage sale, one of his favorite hobbies. During the week, my uncles and aunts would often stop by his house for lunch to spend time with him and talk about LSU sports or old times. Even in his last months, he enjoyed having the family sit in his room to talk about their childhoods looking to affirm their memories by a nod from PawPaw.

When family wasn't around, he spent most of his time gardening. His fruit trees and flowers where always so unique and colorful that most people would ask what his secret was. His usual response was that he did nothing extraordinary, but just the ordinary things well.

In saying that, we thought it was fitting that yesterday was such a beautiful day for his funeral service. Tuesday night, during his wake, it rained but still many people came out to visit the family and catch up on the relationships that were only made possible through my PawPaw. Even as I write this today, it's dark and pouring down rain outside. Yet following yesterday's chapel service, the Lord showed us favor by providing a clear, sunny day for our family and friends to give final respects in memory of my PawPaw, Emile Adolf "Slim" Cancienne.



Service Bible Readings:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
1 John 4:7-15

Footnotes:
1 - JCC, Dungy Endowed Chair Dinner & Auction 2006
2 - Dungy's upbringing was super solid

2 comments:

David said...

Hey Brother, I'm glad this is all over for you and your family. However, I know you will never be over it. I will be glad for you to return to Warner Robins. I miss the fellowship. I'm praying for you and your family....

Aunt Norma said...

Hello Logan, We really enjoyed these write ups on your Paw Paw and the pictures, especially since we could not be at the funeral. I would love to tell you some of the wonderful things about your Grandmother. You know she was in the service during World War 11. She was a luitenant and a Reg. nurse in the Phillipines. She was also surgical nurse at the Baton Rouge General and the doctors loved her and wanted her to be on their shift when they had surgeries to perform. Like you said she cooked at the Food pantry and would sometimes come home and get something out of her own pantry. She also taught Sunday School and loved her church. She was always envolved in anything the Judson Association had going on. She was a great lady. So you see you have quite a heritage from your grandparents. Love Aunt Norma