Monday, September 12, 2011

65 years young!

On September 3, my uncle Sonny turned 65 years young.

Every year that we've had with him is a blessing. You see, about 38 years ago, he was involved in a very terrible car accident. He was trapped in his truck, with the truck on fire, when a friend came to and pulled him from the vehicle. Parts of his feet were burned and he was left paralyzed from the waist down. Obviously, I wasn't born back then -- but in all of my 26 years I have never heard him complain. Ever. He's always thanked God for the accident, because it opened his eyes and made him realized he needed to accept God as his Saviour. And even though he is handicapped -- well, let me just tell you what. You would never know it! He runs a successful florist, he gets on his lawn mower & cuts grass, he piddles around out in his shop, he drives around the property on the Gator, he cooks, and most recently he got stuck in the mud in his motorized wheelchair. But we try not to kid him too much about that one! His grandson and his friend Richard are his "hands". His grandson is the only one I know who was taught how to rebuild motors at 8 & 9 years old!

I didn't meet my dad until I was 17 years old, and my uncle Sonny filled that space in my life for all those years -- and honestly, he's still there. I just made my heart a little bigger for my dad. :) Many times he has prayed with me, sang with me, shared Scripture with me, showed me how to do things. If I tried to pass all of his wisdom and little sayings on, I could never finish it. I love him SO much!

Mr. Gary (standing) is the man who pulled Uncle Sonny from the burning truck.
Friends for life...that share a bond much deeper than most.
He will never know how thankful our family is for his quick thinking that night.

Jared (his grandson) had to take over lighting all 65 candles (told ya'll this was a tradition now!).
He said if we were going to have 65 candles for him to blow out,
he wanted to use a blow dryer!

And use a blow dryer he definitely did! It was hilarious.
I love this picture.
He and Tiffany (granddaughter) were concentrating so hard
and everybody else had huge smiles on their faces.

With his daughter, Jennifer
 (who was just a few weeks old when he had his accident).

With his grandson, Jared. These two are identical!

With his grandbabies (who are not really babies anymore!)

And to top off the evening....these two found a surprise
when they were walking by the creek!
Dear Uncle Sonny,

I am so blessed to have you as my uncle. The seconds, minutes, hours, that you spent drilling lessons, values, and morals into my head that you didn't think would ever register, have stuck with me. I will never forget them! The nights that I woke to hear you praying, the countless times I heard you make the same prayer request over and over, the moments when you knew just what to say to make me bring my head up and hold it high...they are all engraved in my mind for the rest of my life. I still remember the way you proudly smiled at my high school graduation when I was giving my speech. I remember the night I flew home from England the day after Junior passed away. I pulled up in the yard and you were first in line (after Jennifer!) to give me a hug. The weeks after that when I slept with Jennifer and the kids in the spare bedroom so she wouldn't have to be alone, just like when we were little. When you teared up when I walked down the aisle. The first time you held my sweet little firstborn, and that early morning phone call when I needed to tell you that June Claire had came early. The hour long conversations we had while she was in the hospital.

If I tried to write down every memory I had of you, well you know we'd be here forever. So let me just say this: you are a one-of-a-kind man, one that my Grandaddy (and God) would be so proud of. We all love you so much and can't wait to celebrate your 66th!


- dls - said...

Stephanie -
This is such a precious post! God places heroes in all of our lives doesn't He? :)

HappyascanB said...

What a precious post, Stephanie! I love that you shared with all of us such a special letter with your amazing uncle. He sounds like one in a million for sure! Thankful for his influence in your life! That kind of relationship doesn't happen often!