JULIE WELLS: Papa loved the Lord and people

There are those people who leave lasting impressions on your heart. You know, the kind that often brings a smile that stretches across your face when thoughts of them flood your mind.

My grandfather, Martin Freeman, was one of those people. He has left a permanent mark in my life and on my heart.

He was a fairly tall man, had pretty white hair, pretty blue eyes -- even though one eye was a glass eye -- and an incredible smile. He had a glass eye because he accidentally stuck a knife in his eye when he was younger, but that glass eye didn't slow him down one bit.

And his laugh, one that I can still hear today, was the kind of laugh that made others laugh out loud, all because he was laughing. It was one of those loud "he-he-he" laughs.

My memories of him overwhelmed me this week when I saw a coffee mug with a broken handle on it. Papa, that is what I called him, was famous for dropping coffee mugs and always breaking the handles on them.

It always seemed to be grandma's favorite mug he would break and it used to make her so mad -- that was until he passed away of a massive heart attack and she told me that she would give anything to come home to another broken mug. She said she would have bought 100 coffee mugs and let him break them all if he wanted to, just so she could have him alive again.

Papa was one of the most giving people I've ever met. He would literally give you the shirt off his back and do anything for anyone. He was a kind and gentle man, and a man that lived out a life of living for the Lord.

I can still hear him say "Well, Praise the Lord!" when he heard reports of an answered prayer, or when I brought home good grades. (He would always let me sneak and watch the Flintstones before doing my homework. Grandma would never let me do that. I think she figured it out somewhere along the way.)

But there is one thing that remains prevalent in my memories of Papa -- the way he worshipped the Lord. I can still picture him in church singing and lifting his hands in worship.

But he didn't just worship in church, he worshipped where ever he was. He did so by praying for people, loving on people and being a true called man of God. He loved to read to the word of God and yearned for more of Him in his life.

I hope to grow up one day and be like Papa. I've never met a person who didn't love Him. And he never left a person's side without at least leaving them with a great big ol' Papa smile.

So this week, I encourage you to leave everyone with a smile -- at least a smile.

Julie Wells is the editorial assistant in the newsroom at the Rockdale Citizen. She can be reached at julie.wells@rockdalecitizen.com.