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grandaddy 1951 - respect

My Grandaddy, J.D. Newton

Respect Is A Funny Thing.

This is my granddaddy, J.D. Newton, from Dothan, Alabama. Growing up, I didn’t see him much. He lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I lived in Seattle, Washington. I would see him about every 4 years or so. I was his favorite grandson. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I know it’s not politically correct, but it’s true. And the funny thing is, I’m not sure to this day why I was his favorite. He just bestowed his favor on me as a gift.

But because he did bestow it upon me, I wanted to live up to his expectations. And so I looked to him for guidance in many things on those short, rare occasions when I was in his presence. And here is the funny thing about my granddaddy, whom I respected so much: he wasn’t a very tough guy. Oh, he hunted and fished and did manly things alright. But he would also often cry suddenly. He had a tender heart. And I remember as a boy being surprised that I was not at all embarrassed when he cried. I still respected him.

Respect is a funny thing. Every man wants respect, but few ever attain it. I know many men right now who are looking at their legacy with their children or grandchildren or peers or co-workers. We all want the respect of other men around us. We all want to be thought of highly. Yet few men know how to earn the respect of the other men in their lives.

So I am beginning a short, eight-part series about respect. Naturally, I am beginning this series with an image and remembrance of my granddaddy. And yes, I still call him grandaddy. All the kids in his neighborhood called him that, just as they called my grandmother Grandmama. They were from the South, after all.

Watch for the series, beginning tomorrow, on respect. I would love to hear some of your stories about the men you have respected as we go through the series.

See you tomorrow.