Sunday, July 3, 2011


This morning I played Josh a new Brad Paisley song on youtube.  It’s called, “Toothbrush.”  It’s real sweet, and true to the clever, lovey-dovey, uber-creative style that Brad Paisley’s become known for, (which I happen to love…I’m mushy like that).  Anyway, after the song ended I hit the “related” search on the youtube menu and it brought up all of the other songs off Brad’s new album.  So, I scrolled around until I found a title that grabbed me.  (I like words.  Words intrigue me.  Words win me.)  Anyway, I found a title called, “Love Her Like She’s Leaving.”  I know what you’re thinking.  “Wow!  Words win her, huh?  Those are some super complex, deep words.  That’s all it takes?”  I know.  I know.  They’re classic cliché country words, but I knew the message would be sweet, so I hit, play, (and no, that’s not all it takes to win me, by the way).  Well, guess what?  I loved that song too.  The song talks about a man and woman getting married.  At the wedding, her Uncle Bill pulls up a chair and gives the newly wedded husband a little talkin’ to about how to hang onto his wife.  The message is basic, and it’s all in the title, but it’s a good reminder:  “Love her like she’s leaving, like it’s going to end if you don’t, love like she’s leaving, oh and I guarantee she won’t.”  What got me about the song is something that I know for sure about myself.  I love old people.  Strike that.  I love older-than-me people.  In the song there was a man, married for 45 years, giving a young man all of his secrets for keeping a happy wife.  I love that.  It was simple advice, but it worked for him.  Maybe simple really works.  Hmm, there's a thought.  Anyway, I love learning from older people. Thinking about the choices they made; their life picture that appears in my mind when they tell stories; the round-the-mountain lessons they’ve finally learned, that I get to have for free.  I just love them.  I love the legacy and life stored deep within the wells of their eyes.  They fascinate me.  They’re precious to me. 
Quick story, and then to my point. 
A few years back I took my daughters to trick-or-treat at a home for the elderly with their preschool class.  I was strangely excited to go, although I didn’t know why.  I mean, I was definitely hoping there wouldn’t be a stench that would send me over the edge, (classic stereotype, I know), but even still I found myself really looking forward to visiting the elderly, and seeing my ladybug and princess score lots of treats!  Plus, I’m a protective Mom, so I like to go on field trips.  Anyway, when we walked through the doors of the home I wanted to cry, and I mean, boo-hoo sob.  (I'm realizing that my blogs make me seem like such a cry baby.  ...sigh)  Well, anyway, we paraded through the home, room to room, and while I was busy maintaining a straight walking line, shushing loud chatter, and encouraging good behavior, I became very aware of how much I valued each person at the home.  I wanted so badly to know their stories.  To know what they did in life.  To know their triumphs, happiest memories, failures, and lessons learned.  I suppose I just wanted to honor them with a listening ear and a welcoming heart.  It was mostly selfish.  I like getting things for free, especially wisdom, but I wanted to be their friends too.  I wanted to say, thank you, for whatever they were, and whatever they weren’t.  I wanted to say, “Say hi to Jesus for me when you get there.  Are your feet warm?  Can I get you something from your favorite restaurant?  Want a different pillow?  Want my daughter to sing for you?”  You get my drift.  I wanted to be their friend.  I bet only 2 out of the whole bunch would’ve wanted a friend like me.  Someone who talks excessively, and often times, entirely too fast, but that’s okay, I liked them all the same.  I was honored to witness the joy they had as they passed out candy to the raucous preschoolers.  (Except for the man who fell asleep and missed the entire shin-dig.  I actually felt terrible for him.  Poor guy's gonna wake up with a bucket full of candy and no wild kids to give it to.  Or, is he?  Maybe he's a sugar-daddy.  Maybe it was part of his plan!  Haha!)  I plan to go back and volunteer someday.  I will make a new friend there, by golly.  Surely someone will have me.  :-) 
Okay, so here’s what happened this morning.  I listened to the song about the Uncle telling the young man ways to love his wife when that sappy, familiar, I love older-than-me people feeling surfaced again, which made me think of Buck Petty.  (Phew, we’ve arrived at the point.  Clap if you want to.  Or go potty if you need to.  But, definitely keep reading.)

Buck is my neighbor.  He’s married to Elaine.  They’re both precious to my family.  They’re a big part of our adopted family in the south.  I thought since I was thinking about him (and Elaine) this morning, I'd post a poem I wrote about him this past year, when he turned 75, just as a small way to honor him.  Elaine's poem to come...  :-)
We didn't have a lot of money for a gift, but I couldn't show up to his party empty-handed, so Josh and I bought him some coke and peanuts, (a true southern treat), and I wrote him this poem.  (Josh actually read it...I couldn't do it.)

There used to be
a hole in our hearts
Someone missing
Who would play a part
In helping us become
Who we’re supposed to be
And loving us through
Life’s triumphs
and tragedies

If you would’ve asked us
5 years ago
If someone was missing
We would’ve said no
A hero, you say?
No, we’re fine.
Califorina’s our life
This life’s divine

Who would’ve thought
We’d find a hero like you
Who  would hold our hands
And paint our sky’s blue.

You’ve blessed our lives
In countless ways
To name them all
Would take 10 years and 2 days

But a few things come
Right to mind
Times you’ve blessed our hearts
And saved our lives

When Christmas found us
Losing a baby
No money for a tree
Happiness escaped me
Angels from Heaven,
Let’s call them the Petty’s,
Left a Christmas tree outside
And smiles for Claire and Avery
And when the snow locked us inside
A red truck came
Like a flash in the sky
We didn’t have to call
No need to ask
You came to rescue us
So that our car could pass

And who could forget
The loud knocks at our door
He comes to check on us
And just like that,
Our hearts soar!
One hundred dollars
And a loving grin,
“Go get you some biscuits
For you and your kids.”

And who could forget
The tires for Josh
You gave them so freely
Like there was no cost
                But we know better

Hugs and hugs
And tears to boot
You’re always there
To help get us through

To some
You’re WL Petty
Dump trucks,
Tractors and rock
To us you’re a hero
To our kids, you’re Pop

We love you, dear Buck
More than you’ll ever know
You make our hearts sing
And you help our faith grow

Knowing you
Is more than an honor
You’ve filled the hole in our hearts
By being a Jesus-shaped father

It’s been 75 years
Here’s to 75 more
We love you forever
Plus forever and four

This is Buck and Elaine with Noelle, just a few days after she was born.

 And here they are again, when we dedicated Noelle to Jesus!  Elaine talked about what a worshiper Noelle is, and Noelle lit up and smiled big. 

 And here's me and Pop, the day he came over to have lunch with Josh and I.  What a treat!

I don't consider Buck and Elaine "old people," but they're older than me and their stories, lives and wisdom are precious to my whole family.  I love them with all my heart, and I hang onto the wisdom in their words like my life depends on it.  Josh and I both do.  They've taught me a lot about true love.  They've laughed and cried with me, pounded their fists with me when things have gone wrong, prayed with me through anything and everything, let me be myself (California-girl-turned-southern), and have treated me like I'm their own...and have loved my babies the way all parents desire for their children to be loved.  Most of all they've shown me the heart of God, and for that I am changed and forever grateful!  I love you, Buck and Elaine Petty (Maw-Maw and Pop)!  I love you forever, plus forever and four.