‘Mal, you won’t have the answers to everything’

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to cover an event at Longwood Plantation in Orangeburg, where several Bamberg County citizens currently reside. The event consisted of residents clipping coupons for the military and their family members overseas. As I was walking around taking pictures one lady asked me to help her, so of course I sat down and began working.

Discussions of family and old past times circled the table as we clipped away. Then, a man replied to a comment by saying, "You won't have the answers to everything," and a flood of memories came back to me about my late grandfather, Tom Davis, who I called Poppa.

Poppa was a quiet man, but when he said something it was of significant importance. I was around 17 years old when he just so happened to say something of significant importance to me, and it happens to also be the best piece of advice I have ever received.

Off of a country road, between Bamberg and Ehrhardt, acres of corn fields lined sides of the road. Back behind those corn fields, Poppa and I would stand at the edge of a swamp, and fish for hours on end. It was there we would talk about an endless list of topics--my current boyfriend, my upcoming job, why I didn't like my math teacher. During one of those conversations I was especially concerned about the 'whys' of a situation when he said, "Mal, you won't have the answers to everything." He looked at me for a couple of seconds and then cast his rod to try again for another bite.

There are times when I wish I could hear him say that one sentence to me, only because afterwards whatever I was upset about or didn't understand, no longer mattered. He was always there reminding me to focus on the important things in life, and to not run around concerned about minute details surrounding our lives. He truly understood what was important at the end of every day, and made sure his family knew as well.

So Poppa, as this holiday season rolls around, and you're not here to have the paper fight after we open presents at Christmas, I'm not going to wonder why you couldn't be there with us for one more year, or why things ended the way they did. I'll simply remember I don't have all the answers to everything, go fishing whenever I get the chance, and I'll enjoy life to the highest degree.

I'll see you after awhile Poppa.