J. W. IS GONE
He was born in 1936 in Horseshoe Bend. The only son of my Uncle Charlie. He was blessed with four loving sisters and of course being the only son, Aunt Eunice doted on him.
As most young boys of that time he was not very fond of school so one cold day he played hooky from school and his older sister ran interference with the elders. The small house was heated by woodstove and after making a fire to take the chill from the home, they hid under a quilt and drew pictures of their teachers. Now, knowing J. W. I am sure the pictures were not faltering.
I just read a email from my Jewish friend and in it their was a statement which spoke loud of J. W. "Hardships make us closer to God."
At age sixteen he thought school was not going to help him so he quit and started in the construction business. Now everytime you see a dump truck coming down the road think about this young country boy driving the truck.
When he was in his late 20's, he had a horrible accident. After he was taken from his mangled vehicle, one leg was crushed. A dozen of surgeries later, his leg would be shorter than the other forever. So to fix the problem, a special shoe was built with a three inch platform. This did not make him disable but determined to continue on with life. He worked in construction for over thirty years and some people today whine about a little ache and pain. They need only a smiggin of Cousin J. W. fortitude.
He and his only son, J. W. Jr. would come up to Smith County and we would go to Horseshoe Bend and hunt on doe hill. He always had that twinkle in his eye and he was truly sincere. He loved his family more than life itself and would help you do anything without asking or expecting something in return.
I never saw him in anything but blue jeans and plaid shirts but he did dress up in a tux once to give one of his angelic sisters away. You see his father had died and he was the only male so he took up the responsiblity of being the man in the family.
One terrible day, Jr. his son was driving a dump truck that Jr. would not let any of the workers drive because he was afraid they would get hurt. Another accident and J. W. only child was taken away from him. How do you go on after your only child has died? I admired him so very much for his perserverance.
My nickname for him was "The Tomato King". We would spend hours each spring racing to see who would have the first tomato. Well, he always won but I always had the last one.
J. W. loved to garden and grow flowers. When he lost his oldest sister, I saw life begginning to take its toll on him. Then when his Mother died, my Father was too sick to go to the funeral so I went and when I saw J. W. my heart dropped. He looked so very very old. Immediately when I returned home, I called my father and told him how old and sad J. W. looked and Dad said J.W. had been sick.
Several years ago he had had lung cancer and had part of the lung removed but recovered. At the funeral, the Pastor commented that J. W. had been put to sleep 42 times. FORTY TWO TIMES!!!!!!! I cannot even begin to comes to grips with that.
The day before he died, I went to see him and made him laugh. His sisters said he had not laughed in 3 months. I was afraid at first that he would not know me and he did ask who I was, but when I told him who I was and who my father was he knew me immediately. His last words to me when I kissed him on his little head was "Be careful".
I am so glad he was in my life but just like little brother said " I use to love to see fall come each year but now I dread it because in September and October is when our beloved kin die. "
From here on out whenever, Kitty Justice sees a tomato I will have warm loving thoughts about "My Tomato King". Peace be with you Cousin.