Pop’s 100th Birthday – My Memories

My dad, Hugh Cochran, will be 100 years old August 4, 2010.  As I begin preparations for a reception to be held in his honor, I thought of the many lives he has influenced, especially mine.  I have asked for people to submit their memories so I can compile them in a scrapbook for him.

Here are some of mine:

Pop, how can I say thanks for the memories – the thousands of good ones.

Here are a few:

From my early childhood –

  • Coming in late, falling asleep in the car, pretending to still be asleep while you picked me up in strong, loving arms and taking me in the house.
  • Sitting many hours with you in the store and on the bench in front of it.  One time after many people had stopped to ask directions to Albertville, to which you would reply, “Straight ahead about 4 miles,” I said, “Looks like everybody would know the way to Albertville.”  Just the way you chuckled and looked at me with eyes of love still stays with me.
  • Your closing the store and asking me if I wanted to go ‘possum huntin’ and we would stay out late.  One time our family dog Brownie wanted to go; you let her after my pleading.  Your hunting dog hopped out of the truck and ran into the woods, but brownie started running around the first tree she came to and barked.  You told her to hush and come on.  Later in the night after we found no ‘possums’, we started back to the truck and your dog started treeing one at the same tree where Brownie had barked.  Sure enough, there was a ‘possum’. I told you, “Brownie found it first but just didn’t know the right bark.”  You told that on me for years.
  • Sitting in your lap, taking puffs from your cigarettes. Trying to make me not like them, you thought if you let me smoke enough, it would make me sick.  You said, “Do you want a whole cigarette?” I said sure.  After I smoked it, you asked, “Now do you want a      cigar?”  I did and smoked it.  “Now, do you want a chew of tobacco.”  Mother put a stop to that and scolded both of us and said, “Hugh if we have to call the Dr. to her during the night, you will have to tell him what is wrong.”  I didn’t get sick but went to bed crying for a chew.
  • You always told people that I was the only boy you had.  I tried to live up to that because I went everywhere you did and tried to do what you did.
  • When you took me fishing, you said, “If you’re big enough to fish, you are big enough to bait your own hook.”  You taught me how to put on minnows and worms.  I still bait my own.
  • When we would be in the boat, about lunch time, you would ask if I was hungry.  I always was.  From the wooden pocket at the side of the boat, you would pull out rusty cans of Vienna sausage, potted meat, and beanie weenies and we would have a feast.
  • One time I was crawling across the rack of work clothes you kept at the back of the store for sale.  You swatted me on the rear with a fly flap.  I said, “Oh, that hurt.” When you replied, “It was supposed to,” I cried for the rest of the morning.
  • Friends and family would come and sit outside with us in the summer so you could watch the store.  We kids would run and play for hours.
  • The many camping trips and Florida vacations you took us on.
  • The fun and laughter we enjoyed in the simple things in life, like joking at the dinner table.

Teen years –

  • You had to talk to my dates and find out who their parents were.  Usually they like you better than they did me.
  • When Steve and I told you we wanted to get married ( I was only 15), you said, “Well, I might say something about it, but I committed the same sin myself one day.”  Then you chuckled.
  • When Amoretta was killed in an accident the next year, Steve and I walked in your house and you had suddenly aged years from the grief, you said, “Babs, when they first told me my daughter had been killed, I thought it was you, but it couldn’t have been any worse had it been.”  But even through those darkest days, your faith, and Mother’s, stood as a beacon to all of us.

Later years –

  • When Steve and I told you about his call to the ministry, you and I had cross words for the first time in my life.  You thought it irresponsible for him to quit a good job and go to Samford when we had three little boys.  I left in tears that night. When we got home, the phone rang.  On the other end of the line I heard your quivering voice and you said something I had never heard from you before – “I was wrong; I hope you will forgive me, and for what it’s worth, you have my blessings”  You can’t imagine just how much that was worth to me.  Later you even paid for my tuition so I could get my education.
  • When you would come visit us in Birmingham, you would always leave a few dollars under the sugar dish. When we would come home some weekends, you would always give us a BQ boston butt.  You didn’t realize how many meals we made off that the next week.  In summer, you filled our car with vegetables from your garden.

Current years –

  • You were never one to vocalize your love very much, but you always showed it.  Now, when I visit with you and start to leave, I will say, “I love you, Pop.”  You will answer, “I love you too, Hon.”
  • One day when I was struggling with decisions about what to do about your care, you told me, “Hon, I know you are doing the best you can.”  That meant the world to me.

These memories merely scratch the surface.  What I treasure most is your Christian example, your teaching me the ways of the Lord, and the legacy of humor you have given me.

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