Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grandpa's Hands

Delbert Inman 1919 - 2013
The world lost a great man last week - but Heaven gained an angel. I met Delbert a little over 3 years ago, it was my first Inman Family Reunion experience and he wasn't going to let me sneak out without getting to meet me. He called me over to him and motioned for me to sit down. He asked me if I was keeping "that boy" in line and told me it looked like I was doing a good job. As we drove home at the end of that weekend I was filled with the feeling of belongingness and love, thanks to Delbert.
The following Christmas I was invited back to the small town of Coalgate, OK to partake in the Christmas festivities. Again, I was motioned to come sit by his side. Grandpa reached out for my hand and held it. He gently rubbed the top while we talked about various things. He leaned over at one point and whispered, "Do you think this is making Jeff jealous?" then gave me his sly grin.
Another year went by, another reunion and another Christmas. This time, Grandpa motioned for Jeff and I both. We sat by his side and he told Jeff, "You better marry this girl before I do." Jeff blushed then smiled and gave his usual response, "Maybe one day grandpa." then gave me that same sly smile his grandfather had given me the year before. Every time I saw him from that day on, he grabbed my hand and rubbed my ring finger, then look at me and ask where the ring was. There's no ring yet, I would say, maybe one day.
This year we made it to the reunion engaged. Grandpa was so excited, I was the first one he asked to talk to. I walked over and sat down. He reached for my hand, and as he did he felt the ring and smiled. He told Jeff how proud he was, he made a few more jokes at Jeff's expense and then our turn was over.
Fast forward 3 months - Jeff went to see his grandpa every day of his last week with us. He looks up to him more than anyone I know. I can't even begin to recall the numerous stories I've been told about Delbert and his past. About how he grew up in a tough world, how he raised his younger brothers to be the beautiful men they are today, how he loved his wife with his whole heart, and how he taught his children and grandchildren the lessons of this earth. I can see Delbert in Jeff, I can see him in his eyes when he is focused on something, I can see him in his sly grin when he's being mischievous, I can see him in Jeff's stories when he gets excited right before he tells the best part, and I can see him in the love Jeff shows me when I'm feeling down.
I only knew Delbert Inman for one quick blink of his lifetime, but in those three years, he made an impact. He showed me the man I would be marrying, he showed me what he will grow to resemble, and he showed me the family we will one day build on our own.
You will be missed grandpa, every time I think of you I find myself rubbing the top of my hand. But one day we will all see you again with your love by your side, and we will hug you and shake your hand, and tell you all the stories of our children and grandchildren, and how we raised them to follow your lead, how we raised them to be Godly men and women, Godly husbands and wives, and Godly fathers and mothers.
Good night Grandpa.
This is a newspaper article that was written about Delbert and his 4 brothers. I must say that's a handsome group of men!

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