Grandfather protected us all

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 16, 2006

When I was a child, we would sometimes visit my grandparents in Hopewell, Virginia.

At the young ages we were before our grandmother, Wanda Scott, passed away, it seemed like we were traveling to Maine or Florida. Little did I know that when I got older, it would become a day shopping trip to make the same journey.

When we got there, we would play with the same silver coaster set that I have in my home now that they’re gone. It was loud and not really a child’s toy, but we loved it more than any toy they could have bought.

For reasons passing understanding, my parents and grandparents never stopped us from playing with those things. Now that I have a child of my own who loves them, I know how loud and annoying they can be.

My grandfather, I believe, was always a standup husband and father. My mother would tell you that he is unrivaled in both categories.

For that reason, he would always take my brother, Scott, and me out into the woods after we had visited with grandma for a little while. We always thought it was our idea, but I learned as an adult, he did it to give my mother and grandmother some quality time alone.

During our visits into the woods, which included a trip over a train track that was about a quarter of a mile into the woods, he would point out the tracks from all the wild animals that had been there.

According to his tales, there had been anything from a lion to a tiger roaming the woods just a stone’s throw from the town limits of Hopewell.

Of course, we bought it lock, stock and barrel. If he had told us he killed a lion on the four-lane road in front of his house, we would have believed it.

My grandfather was as tough as nails. He had a Navy pedigree and still carried much of that military baring long after he had finished his tour serving the country in World War II.

Alone among his passions was my grandmother. He thought she was the greatest thing since sliced bread. From the day they were married until the day he died 25 years after she passed away, he was devoted to her.

When he died, three years ago this past March, the home was much the same as it was when she died in the late 1970s.

He hadn’t changed the furniture and her chair still sat in the same place it did when she died.

During the week after his death, we spent time in that house going through the things that made up my mother’s childhood and some of ours as well.

Personally, I took a trip through the woods where we used to walk and laughed and cried as I reminisced about the times we had spent with him. (I looked for those same lion prints that were certainly there when I was young, but was unable to find them.)

Now, the house is sold and a business will probably be erected on the spot and that memory of my childhood and my grandparents will be erased from the landscape. Despite those changes, however, they won’t replace the thoughts and memories I had there.

My grandfather was a good man who served his country well and my grandmother one of the sweetest women that ever lived. They will be part of my life and my son’s as long as we live.

Questions? Comments? Snide remarks? All are welcome.

You can reach me at or call me at 332-7211.

Be careful out there and be good sports.