Saturday, April 25, 2009

PAPA ROY RHEA 1907 - 2009

Papa Roy Velt Rhea - October 8, 1907 - April 25, 2009

This is the end of a story about the world's greatest Grandfather ever -- of course, I am biased.

Services will be held beginning Monday at Thomas Funeral Home in Holly Springs, MS.
662.252.4331 Sunday Visitation 5 - 9 p.m. Monday Services 11 am. Call the funeral home for more information.

There will be more tribute stuff later, I'm sure, but for now:

(Pic taken Oct. 6, 2007)

Papa Roy is the kind of fellow who is glad to be made a part of something special. He taught me to appreciate the little things, thank people for the little things, and those little things soon become big things in your heart and memories. In March, he was able to come up and see Antone and Janet's baby, and since then he would ask me in every conversation how they all three were doing. When they sent him a 'thank you' card with images of the baby on it, a card he saw April 24, 2009, my mom said he had a tear in his eye and felt so special to be a part of this. A photo of all of us will be posted soon.

This weekend was fun, working Cape Girardeau Comic Con. For its size, it’s definitely a convention worth attending. It is one of the few I’ve been to that I felt welcome and wanted by the con committee.

Today, April 25, 2009, I was sitting at the table about 3:30 pm when my mom called. She said she needed to ask my buddy, Antone, a question. I gave him the phone, and he walked away. When he came back, he handed me the phone and Mama says, “I had to ask him about the baby’s room--it’s blue, right?” I said, “Yes.” “Call me tonight,” she says, “when you’re safe in your hotel room.”

I immediately knew something was wrong. I waited a few seconds and, realizing in the back of my mind something was wrong, called Papa Roy’s House. My stepfather answered, “Roy Rhea’s residence, this is Sam.”

“How is my Papa?” I asked. He told me the horrible truth that Mama couldn’t hide from me.

Last night, Mama went up to see him and he said he wasn’t feeling very well. She took him dinner and sat with him while he ate and offered to stay the night there, and he said no. “Go home so you can rest.” Later, my Uncle’s girlfriend took Papa Roy some cake and visited him for about an hour and a half.

This week, Papa had repaired his weed eater by himself (he’s 101 years old, remember) and planned to clean off his ditch this morning. So, he went down after breakfast and began working.

After getting tired, Papa Roy had gone up to the house and fixed him some cold water, then went to the front porch of his house--he always said he loved being home and he loved his little house--and sat in his favorite front porch chair, putting his walking cane (which he only began using a few years ago). He watched my uncle working in a shop down at the bottom of the hill for a little bit and then Papa Roy fell asleep on the porch.

Needing a sledge hammer after a hammer wasn't working, my uncle went up the hill and asked, "Pop, where is the sledge hammer?" No answer, so he shouted louder and jokingly, “Wake up, ol’ man! You can’t sleep if you’re supervising!” No answer. He saw that Papa Roy wasn't breathing, realized the problem and went to my other uncle's house first, then to my mom’s house who, at the door, saw his expression.

“Don’t tell me anything,” she said.

At around 10:30 am Papa Roy was gone. 101 years of a great man’s life lived well, a library of wisdom now gone, stories of the olden days have ended. The particular story for Papa Roy’s life has ended perfectly for him having fallen asleep on the front porch of his house.

I don’t have any regrets from our time together. I had 36 years of glorious years with my Papa Roy (not many get to say that about their grandfather), and I learned so much from him. His personality molded my own from the seriousness to the joking quality, I learned how to be honest and love people (from both he and Granny Ethel), and what it is you want at the end of your lifetime:

When people look back on their time with you, they should be able to say you were a great person whose life inspired you to do good things and be a good person.

His children all say the truth in their own joking ways in the Mule on the Street episode about his 100th Birthday Party. Feel free to see this video--now a tribute--to the great and wonderful Papa Roy!



1 comment:

Jasmine Guevara said...

Sorry to hear about your loss. Thanks for sharing the video! My dad was also born in 1907 and remembers the Great Depression. He passed away in 1994. May God give your family comfort during this time.