Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Best Place on Earth

Sugar Creek Road

Just the name makes me smile :)

My Granny Neal picked out the name herself when the county decided all the roads should have "official" names. She didn't just want it to be "Neal" Road like most people were doing. She wanted a special name.

It is hard for me to put into words what I feel when I visit my Granny & Papa Neal. If you visited them with me, the very first thing you would think is...this place is BEAUTIFUL! There are pastures that go on for miles, cows grazing the hilltops, flowers everywhere, and even a red barn.

They live in a small, stucco, white house that they have lived in since their boys were young. They raised 3 boys, all Neals....lets stop for a moment of silence honoring that mother!! The house is not very big. There were 3 bedrooms with a very small living room and kitchen and one, yes one, bathroom. After the boys moved out, they tore out some walls and eliminated a bedroom to open it up for a very large living room! It is put to good use every time the family is over...we barely fit in it these days!

My grandparents are certainly not rich by the world's standards but I cannot think of two people who are richer in my eyes. I measure their wealth by the love, respect, and admiration that every person that has ever known them surely feels for them. They are the kindest two people you will ever meet. They can always be counted on to make you feel loved and cared for when you are in their midst. I don't recall hearing an ugly word spoken about anyone.

One thing that means a lot to me is how my granny has always treated my mom. My mom long ago declared that she had the best mother-in-law in the world and hoped to be just like her to future sons and daughters in law. My granny once told my dad that he should never, ever, ever tell my mom that his mother did something (cook, clean, etc) better than she did. She made it clear that he was not to do that to her! She has also told her sons' wives that no matter what happens, they will always be daughters to her. And she has lived up to that promise. To this day, she has a small framed picture of my uncle's first wife (my cousin's mom) by her bed. She certainly does not flaunt this in front of current wives, but in her heart she loves them all the same. And they continue to have a great relationship to this day.

Sometimes grandparents can get a little jealous and possessive of time spent with other relatives. Not granny & papa. They have always told us to be sure and spend time with everyone and not to feel like we had to be at her house just because she asked. And she truly meant it. She was never offended if we had to miss a dinner or holiday because of being with other family. That makes you want to go even more!!!

I can tell my papa was probably a stickler with his boys and probably not openly affectionate. Well don't times change people!! I don't ever visit without hearing that my papa loves me and getting a big hug. He once told us that my granny & he were taking a class at her church on...relationships maybe? I can't remember the exact course but he said that he told her they could have used it years ago. They learned how important it was to express love to your family. From that day on he has made it a point to make sure we all know how much he loves us. What a softie he has turned into!! I'm sure it makes my granny smile to watch him with his great-grandbabies now.

They have always made it a point to make every person that walks in their door feel right at home. No matter who you are or who you came with, you are family inside their doors. My granny drove a school bus when I was in junior high. Consequentially, she has more "grandchildren" than anyone I know!! They still visit her to this day.

When I am told that I am all Neal...I'm a little bit proud...even though they mostly mean I have a hard head!! In my eyes, it is a compliment to be told I am like my grandparents. Even though I would be equally proud to be called a Reece (my granny's name). From what I've heard, my granny was pretty fiesty herself!! And still is to this day! I think I may just have a little Reece in me too.

I could go on and on for days with stories about my granny & papa. This post has been much longer than I intended!! And I'm sure my granny is blushing right now. She's not much on getting lots of attention.

You may even be a little bored with all this writing if you don't know my grandparents. But if you know exactly what I am talking about.

Granny & Papa (yes, they are almost 80 but they sure know how to use their computer!!) YOU ARE THE BEST!! You have shown me by example, not by lecture, how important your faith in God is in your life. You have taught all your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to trust in Christ and make His will your own. Only then will life be worth living. I cannot express how much you mean to me and my family. I am so blessed!!

Great-Grands (L to R) John, Jack, & Jared Neal, Edy Yon, Ella Kate & Jake Waddell(2005)
Papa & Ella Kate (Christmas 2005)

Granny & Papa with their boys (L to R) Rodney, Eddie, & Joey (2005)

Jake & Granny, Easter 2008

Ella Kate playing at Granny & Papa's, Easter 2008

Jake climbing trees at Granny & Papa's, Easter 2008...did I mention that Granny taught him how to climb trees??

The red barn


Summer Laney said...

How sweet!!! Aren't grandparents the best! Do you think your Granny and Papa will adopt me into the family? I can be alittle hard headed at times...I should git right in.

Autumn said...

Amen and Amen! They are the best! And, this is coming from a Rogers! I often have a hard time explaining to people that I have the greatest memories of my childhood and my grandparents and parents. And... that we all grew up in Mayberry!! Glad someone agrees!

Summer Martin said...

I needed a tissue when I finished reading your book. How sweet. I can't believe your grandparents know how to use a computer at 80 years old. That is amazing in itself.

Kelly said...

If you were trying to make me cry, mission accomplished! As well as Mom who will kill me for posting that. I couldn't have said it better myself, but only b/c I lack the writing skills you have!!

Rhonda Waddell said...

Wow, Kelly, I'm just happy I finally got you to comment!! :)

Diane Neal said...

HI Rhonda, A little birdie told me too go your blog to read about granny and papa and WOW! You got it just right! Made me cry! They are just about as perfect as parents, grandparents and parents in law as a person could ever hope for. You have the gift to put thoughts to words just like your dad also. Your family is precious Rhonda. By the way, I am also a huge fan of Jon and Kate!!!!'

Love you,
Your Aunt!!