Too often, we have always been told that it is impossible to change the world.
I can remember riding down the country road with the windows rolled down and wind whipping at my hair. Every once in a while, I would have to let go of the steering wheel and brush my brunette hair away from my eyes, so I could make sure nothing would block my view of the road.
“Easy does it,” my Papa would say from the passenger’s seat. “You know I taught your Daddy how to drive when he wasn’t much older than you are now. I guess Abby’s next.”
As a little girl, whose age needs not be mentioned due to the fact that I was way below the legal driving age, my heart swelled with pride when I glanced over at my Papa to see his dark brown eyes smiling back at me. I spent all of my summer days like this, helping and learning from Papa. We kept the roads hot, collecting rent money, watching Albert mow, and driving to the store just so I could get a Coke in one of those glass bottles.
My Papa was my world, and I don’t mean in the figurative sense. Papa was everything to me. He knew how to fix anything, as long as he could use duct tape. He taught me how to ride my horse and how not to be afraid if I fell off. He showed me what it meant to work hard, even if I complained about mowing grass at the time. Never once do I ever remember him being angry at me. Although there was that one time that the peacock, perched above his head, let a smelly surprise roll down his back. He may have said a choice word then, but out of respect, he always left the “i” vowel sound out of his favorite four-letter word. Papa taught me about the parts of life they don’t mention in school, like how to be good to people even when they don’t deserve it.
That was the man I knew…not afraid to be his own person at all times. Everyone loved “Mr. Robert.” Just the other day, someone said, “Ya know, you don’t ever meet a person that really doesn’t have any enemies, but your grandfather doesn’t. And he does a lot of business around town, but I really have never heard a bad thing about him.” I, being the vocal person that I am, had to reply and say, “That’s because he accepts everyone as they are and always sees the good in people. It is a trait we should all have a little bit more of.”
I like to think that I grew up with a role model in life who taught me little things to do to change the world in which we live. It’s is not by the words we say but by the actions we do that will be the shining light in the set of a little pair of eyes that may be watching, much like my Papa and me.