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
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