By Don Lindsey
As a kid, I lived in an inner-city neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio on a street named Hudson Avenue. While the area is very dangerous these days, back in my childhood, it was still a tightknit little community where everyone knew each other.
I had a small group of friends that I would hang out with and any free time we got was spent playing some sort of sport or hide and seek. My best friend at that time, Tony Gibson, lived across the street from me. A lot of my weekends and non-school nights were spent at his house where we’d spend all night playing with our toys and video games. Spending this much time there lead to me becoming very close to the family. His mother to this day is still family to me and his grandparents are people that I still think about and miss very much.
Mr. Gibson was the typical nice old man who dressed well and always had a kind smile on his face. I remember having a lot of conversations with him as he sat on his swinging chair on the front porch. He had a great sense of humor and I remember laughing a lot when we talked.
Not ever knowing my grandfathers (they both passed away before I was born), Mr. Gibson sort of filled that role with advice and wisdom. When he passed away, I can remember feeling as if one of the family’s patriarchs had left. I can’t imagine how his grandchildren and family felt.
Mrs. Gibson or “Granny” is someone that I consider to be one of my all-time favorite people. She had a stroke sometime before I met the family which led to her being paralyzed on one side of her body making movement and communication difficult. This, however, did not slow her down. I will always remember playing out in the back yard with Tony and having her call us in for lunch. “Boys! Eat!” she’d yell out. While speaking sentences proved problematic for her, she could say one or two words and get her point across just fine and we’d rush into the kitchen for lunch. The things that lady did with food will amaze me until the day I’m planted and one of the best things about being married to Tammy (her great-granddaughter) is that on holidays some of her recipes will surface bringing back so many wonderful memories.
Speaking of being married to Tammy, Granny seemed to know before any of us that we were compatible and had chemistry. I can remember once when Tammy was visiting, and I was at the house also visiting that Granny kept looking at me and then at Tammy with a knowing smile. When we were married, Granny was very much on my mind and I could almost feel her smiling down from Heaven.
While writing this, I have been fighting back emotions. From missing these wonderful people and feeling sadness to reminiscing back to happy times spent with them and feeling blessed to have met them. The one thing that is a constant is that when I get to the grandparent stage, I hope to be half of the positive influence that these two were on the people that they were around. I wasn’t even an actual grandchild and yet I felt just as loved as anybody in the family. If I can make those, I come into contact with feel that way, then I’m doing pretty well in life.
God bless and have a great week.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.