Tribute to a Great American

“Just Yesterday Morning, they let me know you were gone. Suzanne (Seems that) the plans they made put an end to you…so I sat down this morning, and I wrote down this song. I just can’t remember who to send it too.” James Taylor

Warning: This post is not business related. I guess it could be considered a lesson in building relationships, but it’s not intended to impart any wisdom or lesson whatsoever. It is meant solely to honor one of the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

You’ll find nothing about Pop written in a novel or recreated on the big screen, nor should it be… those outlets can never adequately display his powerful life. In all honesty, I am doing him a great disservice by even attempting to discuss his life here, but my heart is heavy with mourning. I feel compelled to poor my heart into these words, and I can only pray that they are coherent enough to be remotely flattering.

His is a story of nontraditional accomplishment, honor, and character. It’s a story that teaches us that riches aren’t found in wallets or banks, but in the lives we touch. Most people refer to him as Pop or Papa, but he answers to many other titles…all of which are endearing and descriptive of his saintly demeanor. He is not my father, and although I care for him as such, we are not blood related. In fact, I have only known him for 8 years and am deeply saddened that it hasn’t been longer.

He was born in Sweden in the 1930’s. Growing up on a snow filled farm, he often dreamed of coming to the great melting pot that is/was our nation.  Just barely an adult, Pop finally made that trip, and he still believes as he did that day: This is a place where you can make your dreams come true…if you are willing. To him, this country encompasses all that freedom stands for and then some.

If for no other reason, you’d have to respect the fact that he walked onto US soil without the ability to speak English and with only 3 bucks in his pocket.  A few years later, he showed tremendous judgment and taste by marrying a sweet Southern Belle from the state of Georgia. They were a team and a pair of Saints who made friends everywhere they travelled.

Although not a natural born southerner, Papa Swede would exemplify the traits that those of us who are natural born would consider prerequisites for naturalization.

When I found out about his diagnosis, Pop was 77 years old, but the good Lord saw fit to allow him to stay another year and a half. His American dream is complete, and Like most of us, his plan may not have been fulfilled to the letter, but his life is one that any of us would be proud to have lived.

He has been married to his one and only wife for over 50 years; his 3 children are a living testament to the love he had and shared with everyone; he has become a surrogate father and grandfather to many; and the friends he has made over the years could probably shift election results for any major candidate. He is and always has been a great man.  I and many others will truly miss you Pop. God speed and and thank you for the awesome example and legacy.

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought I’d see you again.”James Taylor


About wesherndon

CEO and Head Groove Master at Groove Web Marketing. You're welcome to follow, but be sure to make your own path as well. View all posts by wesherndon

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