To Gumpa, from the grandkids

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George Wesley Cox
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First and foremost, thank you for making my childhood magical — between letting Jenna and I dress you up with earrings and jewelry to climbing the trees in your backyard and riding my bike to the library as you and grandma walked behind me. From the endless bedtime stories and renditions of “In the Pines” to all the sick days with pallets on the couch and chicken noodle soup. Between sneaking Kit-Kats from the freezer to wiping up my tears after scraping my knees. I can’t thank you enough for all of those little shared moments, because they shaped me into the person I am today.

You taught me love by keeping my Strawberry Shortcake necklace on your rearview mirror for 15 years. You taught me patience by attempting to teach me how to drive your old red truck. You showed me fearlessness by standing at fence in your backyard while trains passed right in front of us. You taught me to be tough even when I was in pain and to be kind even when it’s easier to be mean.

Thank you for being my hero, for being someone I could look up to, someone

to think about when I’m making hard life choices and to always have in the back of my mind when I need a little courage.

I’m forever grateful that I had as much time with you as I did, and even though it had to come to an end, I know you’re still with me — every time I see an old red Ford, every time I hear the words to the song you used to sing me and every time I look down at my tattoo.

I hope you’ve found the peace you so greatly deserve. Be good.