A Tribute to Happy

A tribute to Happy

 

What does happy mean?

1. delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person. 2. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy: a happy mood; a happy frame of mind. 3. favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky: a happy, fruitful land. 4. apt or felicitous, as actions, utterances, or ideas. 5. obsessed by or quick to use the item indicated (usually used in combination): a trigger-happy gangster. Everybody is gadget-happy these days. As defined by Dictionary.com 

 

My papa Happy!
My papa Happy!
My grandparents on the day they got married
My grandparents on the day they got married
my papa and his girlfriend in Germany during WWII
my papa and his girlfriend in Germany during WWII
My papa
My papa
My papa and his sister
My papa and his sister

What happy means to me.

My papa. You see that is the nickname given to my grandfather by his dad when he was just a baby. The nickname stuck and he was always known as Happy, or Hap his whole life. Happy was born May 21, 1924 in the panhandle of Texas to poor farmers during the depression. I have no idea how they came to this area, but I do know that they were cotton and wheat farmers, which are the main crops grown in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Happy was a great man. He was well, happy. He always had a smile on his face, he liked to joke around. He was a good provider, a hard worker, and very generous. In my eyes, he was perfect.

My grandfather did not have the easiest life, growing up in the depression was hard enough, but he also lived in through the dust bowls that plagued the plains states. My grandfather also stayed at home from school to help his father farm and provide for his family. He also fought in WWII as a sergeant in the army where he was awarded the Bronze star and the purple heart. I remember finding the medals in a closet as a child. I did not know what the medals were and I took them to my grandmother and asked her "what are these pretty things?" She then told me they were medals that my grandfather had received during the war. I asked her why my grandfather had received them and she told me it was time to put them away. So back they went into the closet where I would go every once in awhile a look at them.

My grandfather never learned to read or write. Happy always hated this about himself. I know he felt ashamed. He always wanted to learn to read and write but I always felt that he did a very honorable thing by sacrificing of himself for the good of his family. That is a trait that he continued to use throughout his life.

My grandfather met my grandmother in Roswell New Mexico at the military base located there. My grandmother was a recent widowed mother of two boys. Her husband had died from tuberculosis, and she was left to raise their two sons on her own. My grandfather was younger than my grandmother. He had never been married before or had any children of his own, but he fell in love. My grandparents got married on the tenth day of June 1946. Happy treated his new sons as his own. He raised them and provided for them, he taught them right from wrong and was a great dad to them.

My grandmother and grandfather then had three more children, My uncle, my dad, and a daughter that was stillborn. I know that my grandfather really wanted to have a daughter, I don't think he knew that he would soon have three little girls in his life.

My grandfather worked many many years in construction as a heavy equipment operator. My grandparents traveled throughout the state of New Mexico as they raised their kids. They eventually settled when my uncle and his son started an excavation company. My grandfather then worked for them for many years. When they finally settled in one area they bought a few acres of land and sold and rented lots for mobile homes. I have to say that I cannot bring myself to call it a mobile home park because the lots they sold and rented were not just a 75X150 lot, they were half acre to one acre parcels that people could build on as they chose, it just happened that mobile homes seemed to be the home of choice. My great aunt and uncle bought a parcel as did their son. My parents had a lot next door to my grandparents and I remember being able to spend as much time as I wanted with them. I would walk back and forth but I believe I spent most of my time with my grandparents.

My parents divorced when I was pretty young, I don't remember the details really. I just knew that they were better apart. my father had become a raging alcoholic, my mother had been verbally and physically abused. I loved my parents, and I remember thinking my dad was a superhero, even though I had seen him beat my mom, I had seen him threaten to shoot our family dog for passing gas, yes, my dad was really an ass. I didn't understand as a child the person that he was, in my childhood eyes, he was still the best.

I remember living with my grandparents. After the divorce of my parents my mother knew that she was unable to care for me and my two sisters. She tried, but she could not afford to raise us, she couldn't handle the pressures of working all day and having to deal with us at night, or working all night and dealing with us all day. My mother entered more abusive relationships and began to drink more, it wasn't long until she became an alcoholic too.

My grandparents took us in and raised us as their own children. My grandfather continued to work, at a time in his life when he should be able to get to relax a little. he had raised his children, and two others, now he was taking on three more. It seems so unfair to me now, that he had to give up his freedom to help those he loved. I never really apprecited what he had done until I was older and had children of my own. Now I know. My grandfather continued to work even after he had hit retirement age in order to provide for his three little girls, he never complained. No, that was not Happy. He worked, day in and day out with a smile upon his face, he loved with his whole heart, he taught them right from wrong, and he treated them as his own.

My papa passed away on January 21, 1991. He finally got to retire, and spent the last few years of his life raising cattle and gardening. 

Happy- My hero, as defined by gwendymom

 

 

 

 

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Comments 21 comments

C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Gwendy, that's a great ribut to your grandpa, happy. I know you must have thoguht a lot about it before writng it. You did well and thank you for sharing it. Sounds a lot like my childhood too.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

C.C. thanks for taking the time to read this. I did think about it alot before writing it. I don't think I ever got to really say thanks to him for all that he did for me. Even if I did, I'm sure it wasn't nearly enough to express the graditude I have for him. I really could not have asked for a better dad, and that is how I think of him.

Where you raised by your grandparents too? I am so glad I had mine. I wish my kids that grandparents in their life, but I do not talk with my biological father anymore, I have decided that I do not need toxic relationships in my life. I talk to my mother a couple of times a year but she is living her own life. My husbands father passed away, and his mother was brain damaged in an auto accident, so they don't have the luxury of having grandparents to help guide them through things and tell them stories of time gone by. I really have often thought of adopting grandparents. I just love older people, they have seen so much and lived incredible lives.


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

I was raised early on when my mom almost died after my birth. I really never bonded with her and got no titty either. i was her only child of 8 who sucked a bottle. Grandma[mamaw] and grandpa[papaw] spoilt me rotten. I was very close to them and a few of my uncles who were their sons. I have since adopted several people for grandparents, and they to have since passed. I love the elderly and I am soon on my way to being one. My oldest 2 grandsons are now in high school, damn I feel old. One will undoubdetly go to the College of Wooster where his half-brothers are.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

C.C. sorry you didn't get any tit. I am also on my way to being elderly, I am already feeling it coming on. I of course am trying to fight it every step up the way but my children keep dragging me back to reality, the brats.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Gwendymom:  I checked my email, saw that you had written a hub, and I rushed right here.  Glad I did, too.  What a lovely tribute to your Grandfather.  He would be so proud (they might have had to start calling him "Happy Happy" after reading this!  I can identify with your grandmom not telling you about the reason behind your Papa's medals.  My father too was a Sargeant in WWII, and also recieved a bronze star.  My mom would only tell us a brief sentence about them and he wouldn't talk about it at all.  After he had his stroke, we found in his papers that he had never recieved his medal and had unsuccessfully been trying to get them.  I took it upon myself to do so (I knew somebody in the service who was in a position to help, and I knew something about trying to get records from the service because of my PI work.  I was able to present to him 3 medals in a lovely box along with a great personal letter.  I have never seen him so proud!  He was living in an extended care facility and kept them open on the table next to his bed.  He passed a few months later.  I kept the medals for a couple of years, and then gave them to his only grandson, who was thrilled.

You did a great job!  It must have been difficult.  I don't think I am ready to do the same.  Maybe some day.

Lovely piece!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

CR, glad you got the email. I never get emails when my friends publish a new hub. I wonder why that is?

My grandmother only said to not ask him about those, so I never did. My sister ended up with the medals after his death and a letter stating why he had recieved them, but I know it is not the whole story. I'm sure he seen some very awful things and probably never wanted to remember them. I am sure that is why they were in the closet.

He was such a great man, I hope that I make him proud of the person I have become, he meant the world to me. I also hope that he knew that.

Actually this was not as hard for me as I thought it would be. I felt some anger towards my father, some shame over the things I did as a child that probably caused him grief, but mostly I just remembered what a great person he was, and that I miss him. I wish my children would have been able to know him, they would have loved him, as much as me I'm sure.

Thanks CR, for taking the time to read this and to comment, I always love it when you stop by, always!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Hi, Gwen. To get email notification when your favorite hubbers publish, go to your profile, click EDIT PROFILE, and then check the box saying "notify me when one of my favorites publishes a new hub," or something to that effect. You might need to enter the URL of HubPages.com into the acceptable senders of your email service, or it could be sent to the spam folder, in which case just click on "not spam" where it stores your spam a few times and your email program will "get it" eventually. (I keep my Spam in the cubbard.) Hope that helps!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Hey CR, sorry I had to step away for a minute, I was rolling enchiladas, dinner time hear. Anyway I didn't have that option clicked, I didn't even know that it was an option. I am sure when I first signed up I did that so that I wouldn't get a bunch of spam. Glad you told me how to do it though, it would have taken me a million years to figure it out, I'm kinda slow when it comes to technology. Thanks for the help.


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

a really touching read GM.


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 7 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Awww a wonderful tribute to our folks of old...they went through the depression and worked damned hard to survive...we had sorta the opposite life in ways ...you and me...many things the same but what I am gonna touch on is I never had the privelege of grandparents...mine were far away and too poor to travel..so I only saw them a few times before they passed on...I vouded to be a good grandmother (if I ever was one) and make sure my grandchildren knew who I was.Even though we didn't live close I never forgot a BD and send gifts and made phone calls and had them come visit me for the summer (well part of it) and we have always been friends...and now I am even blessed with Great children almost 3... one due in 6-7 weeks from now...and all are girls..my my...Actually haven't met them yet tho in person...G-Ma :O) Hugs & Peace


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks GT

Congrats G-ma, sounds like you have a great little family there. I hope the baby arrives safely and healthy. I hope to someday be the best grandma I can too, I just hope it's not too soon.


Research Analyst profile image

Research Analyst 7 years ago

Nice hub thanks for sharing, I am still trying to figure out how to use my hubtivity better.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

What a great tribute! Grandparents are such wonderful beings, aren't they? And your grandfather was obviously extra special! Thanks for sharing these wonderful feelings gwendymom!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for stopping by Research Analyst.

Shalini, he was extra special, your welcome and thanks for reading.


Azeem 7 years ago

Hello

My heart was crying


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Gwen: Well, your mailbox can get full with a lot of notifications--anyone whom you are a fan of. The only way I know of to not get some people's notifications is to quit their fanclub. Oh well.


Madison Parker profile image

Madison Parker 7 years ago from California

Gwen,

What a beautiful story. It made me cry that you wrote this and told us all about the beauty of the soul who was your papa.

You might think that he gave up much to take care of you, but as a grandmother, I would move heaven and earth for my grandchildren; any of them if they needed me. He loved you and your sisters that way I'm sure, so you blessed his life with more years of little souls that he could help grow into big, healthy adults. He was very blessed and he probably knew that.

This was a lovely tribute to him. Great piece and the best you've done that I've seen. Very touching.

Madison


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Madison, thank you, thank you, thank you. I know that my grandfather would have never felt like he gave up anything, that was the beautiful person that he was. I miss him terribly and hope that I get to see him again someday.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Great article, Gwendy. When I first saw the title I thought it was going to be a tribute to happy - the emotion. "Duh..."

This was better!


Madison Parker profile image

Madison Parker 7 years ago from California

Gwen,

You will see him again. I feel so certain that this life is only a part of our journey. Your Papa will be there waiting for you when, hopefully, many years from now, it is your turn to move on. Again, beautiful hub. Very well done and a lovely tribute.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks CW, That is kind of what I was going for with the title, glad you liked it.

Madison, I think so too, I just hope I make it. Thank you for your complements, they mean alot to me.

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