In the 'Why?' Stage – Commentary by Frank Gillispie 3/04/10
Young men dream dreams and wonder how to make them happen. Old men remember memories and wonder why things happened the way they did.
Sometimes, life events can not be explained or understood. For example, Sunday morning, February 28 2010, my younger brother Harold Lee Gillispie, suffered a
massive heart attack that proved fatal. The day before he had been working in his back yard with a chain saw cutting up an old oak tree. He was just over
a month from his 66th birthday.
His death was almost identical to that of my father. On February 28, 1990, my father suffered a massive heart attack that proved fatal. The previous day,
he had disassembled a mower deck in preparation to installing new bearings. He was just weeks away from his 76th birthday.
Both events happened shortly after they woke from a night’s sleep. Harold died twenty years to the day after his father. Both appeared to be in relatively
good health, having worked the day before. How do you explain that?
Harold was a good man. Like many of my family, he was essentially self educated. Yet he started several successful businesses. He was a proud father of
two sons, the husband of one wife, and a loyal supporter of his friends and extensive family. His death will leave a vacuum in our lives.
As the elder brother battling cancer, I fully expected to die before either of my brothers. That is one reason I was so stunned by Harold’s sudden death.
So now I don’t know what to expect. As my 70th birthday approaches, I am clearly past the dreaming dreams stage and well beyond the “how” questions and
fully in the “why” stage.
The dreams of my youth are almost past. A few were accomplished, many were abandoned and others took totally unexpected turns. Founding a newspaper was
not one of them, yet that is probably the most significant of my accomplishments. I have always loved to write, so writing a newspaper came naturally to
me. But this week will, I suspect, force a change. I will spend less time writing about social and political issues, and more time recording the mass of
memories that I have accumulated.
A number of you have commented on the columns about growing up in the rural South, and I have a lot of those stories I can tell. Perhaps I will collect
those memories into a book that I can call “Growing Up Redneck.” You will likely see these stories frequently in this column.
I apologize for rambling today, I am not in a condition to concentrate on anything else. I am sure you understand.
Copyright © 2010 by Frank Gillispie
firstname.lastname@example.org, Hull, GA
The American Ideal of 1776: The Twelve Basic American Principles
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