It’s taken a few days before me to get back into the swing of things. I’m sure more than a few blogs this week will deal with the repercussions or even just the thoughts provoked by the events of last week.

Anyway, “The Black Mayor of Franklin” was sent off in grand fashion, some of which I’ll get to in a bit. All of which would have made him proud. Or at least brought a smile to his face. The Freemasons did a pre-service to send off their brother. The tributes to him were telling. My grandfather, Pap as we called him, was all about conversations. There were three ministers who conducted the service and each one pointed out that he loved to argue, especially with preachers. He had the spirit of hospitality: when you were with him, you knew you were at home. He always had a smile, a joyful spirit, and a wicked sense of humor. Those all combined for a charismatic charm that made you love the man and want to be around him.

They danced around the fact that his main loves were women (though he loved only one), gambling, and drinking (I often say that I come from a long line of alcoholics in denial). He was also the same man that sued the city of Franklin over a six pack of beer and a fifth of Scotch (confiscated during a police stop). The six pack he almost let go, but to mess with a man’s Scotch, well Pap was a man of principles.

I didn’t get up to speak. Though if I had to tell my favorite Pap story, it would be the one involving him getting our entire family kicked out of a restaurant. You see, we were celebrating my father’s 50th birthday, a milestone that he never thought that he’d live to see. So we splurged and went to a fancy steak restaurant, arriving by limo. Now there were about 20 of us stretched out along these end-to-end tables. My father at one end, his father at the other end. I don’t know how this topic came up, I fear that my mind in an effort to protect itself has blocked out the memory, but suddenly my grandfather is discussing his sex life. Apparently, he had just received a penile implant, a fact that he was so overjoyed with that he felt the need to announce it to us all. Particularly my father. Did I mention that he was at the other end of the table? “One, two, three pumps is all I need and I’m ready to go” I believe was the final phrase to the detailed speech before we were asked by management to leave.

That is my lasting memory of my grandfather.

The Funeral

My sister flew in from D.C. She has an extreme hatred of funerals, matched only by her hatred of flying (she swore that she saw Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Aaliyah on her flight). She stayed with me and she had not forgotten what I will refer to as “the pestful incident” [I was visiting her in D.C. and at one point she was bedridden with what I shall delicately call her monthly visitor. I had bounded into her bedroom and, sensing weakness, bounced on her bed to elicit conversation from her. She responding with this one chilling sentence: “if you don’t stop bouncing on this bed, you will wake up with my used tampon in your mouth”]. This is the same sister who, at one point over the weekend, snatched her weave out her head with the proclamation “Yes this is my hair. I paid good money for this.”

We were moving through Jell-o the day of the funeral. We listened to Bob Marley to set the mood, though the occasion may have put us off reggae music for a while. The funeral started early. What black event has ever started on time, much less early? A half hour early, at that. Heck, my wedding started (only) five minutes late and that was only because that was when my mother decided to show up (my side of the aisle looked positively deserted until about 15 minutes into the ceremony).

Most of the day is a blur. All family beefs were squashed, at least for the day, hopefully for good, in light of the occasion. I vaguely recall that one of my sisters challenged another sister to a fight over a lack of e-mail responses. Of course, that other sister still crosses herself every time I mention me and my church plant. She fears that the idea of a Broaddus inside a church, much less working in one, will offend God. The phrase “please no inappropriate touching of boobs” had to be uttered less than ten feet of my grandfather in repose. And of course, there was tons of food, much of which, I’m sure, is in my father’s refrigerator as I type.

This is your legacy, Pap. And I know you wouldn’t have it any other way.

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