“Mr. Brown went to town to buy a load of hay. Mr. Martin came a fartin’ and blew it all away.”
I was sitting on my Pa-Pa's lap when he first recited that "poem" to me. Kind of a strange way to start out a eulogy, huh? Well when I think of my grandfather, this is the first thing that comes to mind.
James Voy Cash was a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a grandfather, a teacher, a jokester, a veteran, a deacon, and a solid man of God. He was a man of discipline. Literally. One of his jobs was a warden and superintendent of a school district. Many who knew him knew he was a serious man who loved his family and would do whatever it took to provide for them. But what they didn’t get to see is what I got to see every day.
I spent countless hours at my grandparents’ house. Sunday nights were always the night we would all get together and eat dinner. I can’t remember how many times I would beg my parents to let me stay the night. “Pleeeeease, Mom?” Of course on school nights, I always heard “Not tonight, Amy.” But on the nights we didn’t have school the next day, or during the summer, staying the night at Grandma & Pa-Pa’s house was the highlight of my week. Because who doesn’t love getting spoiled by their grandparents? Except for when Pa-Pa would try and get me to drink buttermilk (one of his favorites) instead of regular milk. Yuck!
I have so many memories, it’s hard to pick a favorite. One of them might be the time my grandparents’ church had a Christmas musical, or a “Christmas Cantada” if you will. My grandfather volunteered to video record it in the back, since he wasn’t in the choir. At the end, the music director turned around and invited the congregation to sing along to “Joy to the World”. So much for the congregation. All you could hear was my Pa-Pa wailing out the words, “JOY TO THE WORLD!” He wasn’t the best singer. (Not like his cousin, Johnny Cash.) But he sure did try.
Another favorite memory is probably the time he had just gotten out of the hospital (after being in ICU for almost 3 months due to complications from a routine surgery). He had lost so much weight so my grandmother decided to take him to Wal-Mart to get some new pants. He got to the front door of the store, when all of a sudden his pants dropped to his feet. My grandmother turned around to check on him and saw what happened. “Oh, Voy!” she said. [That phrase came out of her mouth on a daily basis.] But it didn’t phase Pa-Pa. He picked up his pants, marched straight to the men’s clothing, and picked him out a new pair of suspenders. That’s the kind of man he was. Didn’t really get embarrassed. Just took care of business and moved on with his life.
“Boys? You don’t need boys! You only need me!” Paw-Paw was never an advocate for his granddaughters dating. I’ll never forget the time he first met Brandon. I was more nervous for Brandon to meet Pa-Pa then I was my own father! We walked in the house for the Cash Family Thanksgiving last year. Brandon walked over to him and said “Hey there, I’m Brandon.” Pa-Pa said “Hey Brandon, I’m Amy’s grandpa.” It was then I knew, Pa-Pa approved. If he didn’t, he would have come up with some joke to make Brandon feel awkward.
I will always remember my Pa-Pa as the sweet, joyful man who LOVED his family so much. You could always count on him to crack a joke, shake his empty cup for more sweet tea, ALWAYS eat dessert, and be there for anything you needed, no questions asked.