I've often thought there are two types of people in this world, and you can tell them by the way they respond to one particular situation. When faced with a shortage of room at the table, there are those that build bigger fences and keep their table small, and there are those that build bigger tables. Those with a mantra of "the more the merrier." That are always welcoming, always inviting.
It's my goal to be the latter. To be inclusive. To be welcoming. To make people feel it.
And I learned that especially from Thomas T Brooks. PawPaw Brooks.
His circle of friends was ever expanding. Ever changing and growing for the better. If he met you and talked to you, you were in. If he visited your church, you were invited to the fish fry.
Those are the great memories. The reunions. The large gatherings of family and friends. The fish frys. The turkey frys. Mexican Train. Hand 'n foot. Washers. Horseshoes. Fishing. Traveling in the RV.
Always on the go. Always meeting new people, making new friends.
And he didn't really slow down much, even right up here to the end. Still driving into his mid-90s. 42 at the church. Breakfast here. Dinner there.
His personality is going to be missed, for sure. His warmth, his welcoming. His stories. I know he's having a great reunion now. Granny Brooks. Zach. His brothers and his family. All those friends and neighbors that have gone on before. What a fish fry they are having.
He leaves big shoes for the rest of us in the family to fill. I pray we can be as warm and inviting. As inclusive. And as celebratory of life.
It's hard in this time when gatherings are limited, when travel is difficult. Just being so far away. I look forward to when we can have a great, big fish fry in memorial.
I can't think of a better way to honor him.
Rest in Peace, PawPaw Brooks. You've earned it.