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Opinion: FAITH: Reflecting on Grandfathers

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column of those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Augusta Press.) 

One of the most interesting things I do is that I search out my ancestors on the site, Ancestry.com.  I find it fascinating to find out where I came from and the people who are in my family lineage.  Thankfully, I have found that those who came before me were honorable people.  Several of them served in the Revolutionary army and helped us in that war for freedom from England.  

I also found that two of my Great Grandfathers were Baptist preachers.  One was my mother’s father’s father, and the other was my father’s mother’s father.  They occupy identical spots on the family tree except one is one side and the other on the opposite side.  Little did they know that their Great Grandson would also be a Baptist preacher.  

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I remember my two Grandfathers very vividly.  My Father’s daddy, Mallie Frank Harrell, Sr. was an outdoorsman and took me on many fishing trips.  He taught me how to fish and shoot doves in the Fall.  The other was my mother’s father, Benjamin Augustus Golden and he was, for many years, the Clerk of the City of Tifton, GA.  He was a quiet man who taught me a lot about living life and being a good, honest citizen.  We had many long talks about life and the world around us.  I enjoy reading things about both of these men that I have discovered on the Ancestry website as well as from family documents and historical records.

Grandfathers have a special place in the hearts of children.  They look up to them and all grandfathers should make sure that they set the right example for those children to follow in their own lives.  The children will be grandparents some day and then that responsibility will fall to them.  

My sister, Elizabeth Greer (Libby) Harrell is an accomplished poet, I think.  She writes some of the most heartfelt poems I have ever read.  Since I was referring to my grandfathers earlier in this article, I thought it would be great to include one of my sister’s poems.  I hope you like it and that it will mean something special to you as it has to me.   

Make Me A Promise Granddaddy

Make me a promise, Granddaddy,

If you get there before I do,

That you’ll save me a seat up in Heaven

Cause I want to sit right next to you.

Mommy and daddy will have seats

And Nana will have her seat too,

But no matter where they put down their seats

I want mine put right next to you.

They told me that Heaven’s a big place,

But I’m sure that I’ll never get lost,

Cause my granddaddy will be there to guide me

No matter what the cost.

Yes, they say that it “cost” to get there,

But you don’t pay with dollars and cents.

They tell me it’s really quite easy…

They use a big word…”Repent.”

I know that you know all those big words, Granddaddy,

But I’m really not sure that I do,

But just save me a seat up in Heaven,

Cause I want to sit right next to YOU!

Elizabeth Greer Harrell

Now you know what I meant when I said that she writes poems that speak to one’s heart.  This poem is special to me.  It touches me where we all need to be touched once in a while….in the heart.

Reverend William (Bill) Harrell has been in ministry 48 years. He served as the pastor of Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez, GA for over 30 of those years. He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also check out his blog at www.williamfharrell.com 

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