Hold Tight to Today
Written by: Chris Brown
“I said Grandpa what’s this picture here…..”
Like many of us, some of our earliest memories involved a Grandparent, for me it was my Grandfather.
“If it looks like we were scared to death……”
For the 40 years I have been alive and for the 53 before that, Wallace Collie never met a stranger and never backed down from a challenge. A homebuilder by trade and a handyman by night, I never saw anything he couldn’t do or couldn’t fix. He was a WWII Vet, a Husband, a Father, A Grandfather and a man of God. Every Sunday you could find him on the end of the 3rd pew of Ringgold Baptist Church while his wife sang in the choir and his daughter played the piano.
My outdoors life, when I was back home in Virginia, consisted of my Grandfather and my Uncle. My Dad has always been hands on and extremely supportive, but my Grandfather and uncle taught me how to fish, how to run a boat and many of the outdoor activities I enjoy with my kids today.
On our annual family vacations to White Lake, NC, he helped teach me to waterski behind his Thunderbird Ski boat and in the evenings he and my Uncle took us boys across the lake to the fishing hole after supper. As a young boy, I learned quick to watch and listen…….and learn.
One of my fondest memories of my Grandfather, were those annual vacations to White lake. Each year, up until he was in his early 80’s, he and I would water ski together behind my Uncles Ranger. We may not have stayed out long but he was always there, right beside me, smiling and laughing, and skiing.
When I was 21 years old I bought my first bass boat. A 1997 Ranger Sport R70. He and my Grandmother were in town visiting us and I couldn’t wait to show him. We fished and caught a bunch of fish out of that boat and those were the trips I will never forget.
“A pictures worth a thousand words….”
In 2002 when I accepted a position with Strike King Lure Company, He was the first person I called. He thought about the news and the position for a minute and gave me this advice, “Son, The fishing business is seasonal work, will there be enough work to get you through the off-season and beyond? Can you make a good living in this industry?” He asked. Not sure he fully understood the scope of work, but you hardly ever saw him without that Strike King hat I gave him soon after I started. He was proud.
“This one is my favorite one.
This is me and grandma in the summer sun…..”
The lady sitting next to him in the picture above. That’s My Grandmother.
72 years they were married.
I had to repeat that to a friend the other day when talking over the phone. Hardly seems possible doesn’t it.
In his 93 years of life, his 72 years of marriage, he never let work get in the way of his family or his faith. Yes, He worked his ever-loving a$$ off, but it never interfered. His son Larry, (My Uncle), one of the best dudes you could ever have the pleasure of knowing. His daughter Wanda (My Mom), Well what can you say about your Mom? She’s the deal.
Insert 4 Grand boys and it never slowed him down. Not one second.
He built over 50 homes in and around the small community of Ringgold, Virginia making sure everyones dreams came true. He helped me and my Brother and my Dad build storage sheds, decks, furniture, you name it. He taught me more about life without ever saying a word. He was my Grandfather.
“You Should have seen it in color…..”
2 years ago. That was the last time I saw my Grandfather alive and doing well.
654 miles separated us…….. A little over 8-1/2 hours of driving time.
Life gets busy, life gets hard, things get crazy, family, friends, holidays, work, travel, more work. Everything seemed to get in the way.
It always does. doesn’t it?
Of all the people I have had the pleasure to know and to have spent time with in a boat, my Grandfather was my most favorite one. If I could have one more day with him in that little ole’ Ranger I would drop everything I was doing and make sure I was there early.
As my wife and I drove the 8-1/2 hours home last night back to Alabama, I caught myself seeing things on the road, landmarks, lakes, rivers, places we have been, things we have done and they all involved my grandfather. I regret not being there more in the last few years of his life, I regret not spending more time with him when I was there. But as a my friend Don Barone wrote once in one of his columns,
“Yesterday, Yesterday Never comes back. Hold Tight to Today.”
Hold your friends close and family closer, make sure those you love know it on a daily basis and always hold tight today.
Save me a fishing spot on the bank Grandaddy, I will see you again one day in Heaven.
“In Color” – Written by Jamey Johnson, James otto and Lee Miller