Monday, September 22, 2008

A Manly Man Has Fallen

This past Lord's Day, my grandfather, Malcom Alex Southerland went home to be with Jesus. He was "Pepaw" to his four grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Pepaw lived a life of bravery and fortitude. He served our country valiantly in the U.S. Navy in World War II. After returning home from the war he went to work for the Dallas Police Department. He served as an officer for 38 years before retiring. For as long as I can remember, until the very end of his life when he was physically unable to do so, he ran his small farm during his free time, raising cattle and growing hay primarily. Pepaw was born May 11, 1919. He was 89 years old.

Pepaw was an excellent example of manliness. In an age of ever increasingly effeminate men, Pepaw stood tall as a man who lived a man's life. Yet, he was tender to his wife, children, and grandchildren. I heard tales how he would come home after walking the beat and confronting criminals, and rock my father to sleep when he was a crying baby.

When I totaled his car as a 16 year old boy, his only concern was, "Are you OK?" Cars could be replaced, but he knew his family was paramount. He showed the same attitude when my brother drove the farm truck through the gate. No big deal. Gates, fences, and trucks can be fixed. His concern was for his grandchildren.

I remember the many mornings when I would wake up at his house while staying there as a boy. He'd have fried potatoes and bacon cooking on the stove. Sometimes it was even round steak for breakfast! It was usually the smell that woke me up. The sun would shine in the sliding glass door that overlooked the field of cattle in his back yard.

Pepaw will be missed. He was the last grandparent that Sheri and I had. I will always remember him as a very strong man with a very tender heart. It is those qualities of his that I wish to emulate in my life.

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