Today, I’m remembering my grandparents. My paternal grandmother, Helen Maude (Walker Carter) Hoffman passed away last night at the age of 95 after battling dementia for over five years. Her passing just happened to fall on the birthday of my maternal grandfather, Delbert W. Lacy, who passed away ten years ago. I never knew my paternal grandfather, Edgar Carter. He died before I was born. Vera L. (Morrell) Lacywas the first of my grandparents to pass during my lifetime, and she did so after a long physical struggle, too.

Right now, I’m reading The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins, and the current chapter I’m on breaks down how “connected” we are to relatives based on our genetic make up and our connectivity. The equation of my “relatedness” to my grandparents is 1 x (1/2)2 = 1/4. I have a 1/4 of each one of my grandparents as part of my genetic make up. Put all four of my grandparents together, and I am a sum of those people. Part of their genetic make up continues to survive in me. On a scientific level, it’s fun to know my grandparents passed on their physical traits to me. I’ve got my grandpa Lacy’s nose, my grandpa Carter’s eyes, my grandma Lacy’s lips, and my grandma Carter’s body type.
Beyond physicality, though, these wonderful people taught me great lessons. Through their faith, I learned loving others is the greatest reason for living. I clear my throat like my grandpa Lacy. It wasn’t practiced. It wasn’t taught. One day, I just cleared my throat, and it sounded like my grandpa Lacy. My mother almost fell of her chair, it was so like old D.W.. He also taught me to fish. I don’t fish often these days, but when I do go on a lake, I remember how because grandpa Lacy taught me. My favorite pie is strawberry rhubarb, and that comes from my grandma Lacy. She made the best strawberry rhubarb pie in the world. I believe the secret ingredient was Jell-O. My mouth is watering right now. Grandma Carter taught me sensitivity. She was one of the most empathetic people I know. She could sense when things weren’t going well, and she knew how to give good council. My big heart for others comes directly from watching her care for her others. Like I mentioned, I never had the honor of meeting my grandpa Carter, but from what I know, the gregarious nature my father has was passed on to him from grandpa Carter. I’m sure everything I know about socializing and congregating with others comes from my grandpa Carter via my own dad.
It’s pretty great, when I think about it, to know how many wonderful qualities I have because of these four awesome people. I’m a pretty sentimental guy, and I know I often reflect that here on the blog. Sometimes, it feels a little self indulgent, but I hope what I share here is always universal. We all have grandparents. Whether we knew them or not, they’re a part of who we are and how we live our lives. As we get older and grandparents slip away, it’s easy to forget the influence they had on our lives. Today, I’m honoring my grandparents, thanking them for the traits I inherited and the things they taught me. Blessings to Helen, Ed, Vera and Delbert. You make up who I am.


  1. vanilla · November 13, 2009

    I appreciate you for honoring your grandparents. A thoughtful post, and well-written.

  2. james carter · November 13, 2009

    Thanks, Uncle David, and thanks for some of the background links. I appreciate you keeping up with family history.

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