Anchored In Love
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Anchored In Love

A tribute to the kindest man I've ever known.

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Anchored In Love
Carly Marmen

Death - some are afraid of it and some simply do all they can to avoid it. Whether it be our own timely demise or a loved one's, death is never an easy thing to go through. Last week I found myself faced with this inescapable life event. My precious grandfather peacefully passed away on September 14, 2016 in his home.

It was an emotional weekend full of funeral arrangements and granting his parting wishes. When the obituary in the newspaper rolled out, I was saddened that Tennesseans got such a small glimpse into the extraordinary life of Bill Onks. He deserved a proper tribute. Who better to write it than the granddaughter who heard it all?

I was incredibly blessed to have grandparents who lived right around the block. The close proximity allowed for vivid memories of adventures at my grandparents. Summer days were spent on the back porch where empty storage bins became pools and tomatoes were picked right from the backyard. Their garden was an impressive array of fruits, vegetables and greenery. My grandfather was constantly adorned in Band-Aids from nicks and scratches while trimming his rose bush. But as he told us many many times, "a little blood won't hurt anyone."

His tough guy attitude stemmed from years of service as a Navy man. His days on the ship yielded many stories. He loved getting out his signal flags and teaching us what every move meant. He especially loved telling the wait staff at Red Lobster that the signal flags used as decor were placed incorrectly. He served in the Korean War and never failed to make us smile with his light-hearted reenactments of his Navy days.

Boy, did he love to eat! There are few foods that my grandfather disliked. My grandmother's cooking was as Southern as you can get and he didn't waste anything she made him. Applesauce made from the apple tree in their backyard, freshly sliced tomatoes on biscuits made from scratch and country ham were staples in their home. He had a sweet tooth too. Ice cream, cakes, pies and any other type of dessert you can think of, he loved. Nestle candy was always present due to his many many years working for the company. A bag of Werther's caramel candies and a jar of salted peanuts stayed right beside his chair. He shared his little treats with anyone and everyone who came through coining his famous phrase, "Help yourself!"

He loved his family so much. A perfect example of a great husband, father and grandfather. My grandmother was the love of his life. I never get tired of hearing about how they met in church and wrote to each other while he was in the war. They had three children who all grew to achieve great accomplishments. And they had my brother and myself, their only grandchildren. He loved us to pieces. I "married" him many many times in their living room with my grandmother officiating. He and my brother ran through the house wearing towels as capes playing Batman and Robin. Every moment spent watching cartoons or playing with their extensive Hot Wheels collection was precious.

His sense of humor was one of his best traits. My grandfather would do anything to get a laugh out of you or make you smile. He frequently would jiggle his dentures at us just to make us laugh. When he failed to put in his hearing aids, he misheard things so far fetched you couldn't help but giggle. He enjoyed making people happy and every time he did his eyes twinkled a little bit brighter.

One of my favorite memories of my grandfather was his love for the Lord. Many mornings I would walk into a quiet house to find him in his room, hunched over at his desk studying his Bible. The picture of him sitting in his room intently pursuing his God is forever ingrained in my memory. He was a faithful servant and resides in Heaven with his Savior.

I will miss the car rides with oldies music and a glass of tea in the cup holder. I will miss waking up and seeing him seated at the table reading the newspaper and drinking piping hot coffee. I will miss the musky scent of his cologne and his perfectly combed hair. I will miss the camp shirts and khaki shorts. I will miss hearing his laugh and seeing his bright blue eyes. I will miss hours of watching westerns, football and game shows. I will miss the way he greeted me, "Well hello there, Carly Jean." I will miss him dearly. But I hold fast to the promise that I will one day see my grandfather again. Till then, I'll hold on to these memories.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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