I love working with young writers, so I was excited to work with the students at Heritage Middle School in Ringgold, Georgia back in February of this year. I shared a few secrets with them—use strong verbs, add a few dashes of dialogue, start with a strong hook paragraph, etc. After each class, I said, "If any of you write a keepsake story and send it to me, I'll publish it on my blog."
I received Lindsey White's keepsake story a few weeks ago, and as promised, I'm posting the story here for the world to read and consider. Lindsey was masterful at using his grandfather's bible as a way to launch into a story filled with rich memories. It's a great tribute to his grandfather.
Enjoy Lindsey's story titled, "My Grandfather's Bible."
It was getting close to summer time, which meant it had been over a year since my grandfather passed away. He was in his early eighties when he died. I was twelve at the time. I was looking through some of his old Bible studies, lessons, and books at my grandmother’s house. That's when I came across a Bible that had "Reed White" written on the bottom right corner in gold letters.
I started to look through it, turning all the old worn pages. He had written many little words throughout the Bible and underlined verses in blue and black ink. I looked up to my grandmother and asked, “May I have Papa’s Bible?”
She said, “Well of course you can, as long as you use it.”
In excitement, I said, “Yes I definitely will.”
My grandfather grew up in a very poor environment. At birth his twin brother and mom died, and his father was not in the picture. His grandmother ended up raising him. However, he made the best of what he had. He graduated college and went on to work for the State of Tennessee until he retired. He was deacon and taught Sunday school for thirty-something years.
I had always looked up to my grandfather. He was a very Godly man. He never once judged people. He taught me to get to know someone by looking in their inner appearance, not outer. I thought very highly of him.
My grandfather and I had always been close. Every day after school, my grandmother would pick me up and drive me to their house. We would play different kinds of games. My favorite game was Chinese checkers.
But the first thing I did every day when I got to their house was sit on the red and green couch beside my papa’s dark green chair and tell him a joke. Most of the time, my jokes were not even funny, but he would laugh like it was the funniest thing he had ever heard.
Then he would tell me a new joke that someone had told him. I remember when he asked me, “Where do one-legged waitresses work at?”
Then he said, “IHOP,” and we laughed.
I had the best time with my grandfather even if all we did was tell jokes to one another.
It has been around a year since I have had his Bible, about two years since he passed. I leave his old red Bible on my dresser. It is always open to the verse that he told me to live by when I got my first “big boy Bible” and when I got baptized. The verse is Jeremiah 29:11.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you, not to harm you.”
Every day I look at the Bible and that verse to remind me of what a great, Godly man and grandfather he was. In the back of the Bible, it has pieces of advice. There are sections on marriage, revel, repentance, and many more. I feel that he wrote these things not only to help him, but to help me.
That old, ripped and torn red Bible means so much to me because it was my grandfather's. I will keep it until it is time to give it away to one of my grandkids. Then they can pass it on to their kids. I want it to be something that continues throughout my family.
I have other things from my grandfather like two of his jackets, but his Bible means more to me than anything else. Even though my grandfather is in Heaven right now, and I did not get a lot of time to be with him, he still means so much to me.
Sometimes I will hold his Bible and read it when I am going through hardships because it reminds me of him. My grandfather and his Bible will always be important to me.
—Lindsey White, Heritage Middle School
Lindsey may be young, but the love he had for his Papa is universal. I love the fact that he and his grandfather shared special moments together telling each other jokes. I love Lindsey inserting "big boy Bible," into his story. Again, his story is a wonderful tribute to a man who meant so much to him.
Thanks, Lindsey. Keep recording your memories and feelings.
Keep storytelling alive, friends! Share the stories that matter. If you don't know how to get started, pick up a copy of Project Keepsake and read how other writers told their stories.
As always, thanks for your interest in Project Keepsake.