FJ Smith

I was tasked with writing something about you to share with the group today. As one of your more introverted grandchildren and a frequently reminded, non-member of the “Original 5”, I didn’t really expect to be here… But, since I am, what could I write to truly convey the man you were to everybody?

As I think back on my moments with you:

My oldest memory is one of your many attempts to cheer up the incredibly bratty child version of me one hot afternoon. Your peculiar blue-green eyes lit up even brighter as you shuffled across the floor with your signature tube socks pulled over the bottom of your khaki pants. You danced and sang your heart out about a small girl from Minnesota named Elon Nadeen… Just to put a smile back on my face.

My most visited memory is only a few seconds long, but I often replay it in my mind. It’s the quick flash of my Grandma’s shy smile as you sat at the table talking about courting a pretty brown-skinned girl with a coke-bottle shape. I’ve always secretly hoped to smile that same smile one day.

My most cherished memory is sitting on the couch watching my Mom listen to your stories for what felt like hours at a time. It was as if she was memorizing not only the words you said, but the way you spoke, because she knew that uncorroborated or not, those stories were filled with decades and decades of wisdom that no one else had… I’m glad you get to enjoy each other’s company once again.

Reflecting with others on what to say today made me realize that all of our favorite memories are quite different. Your actions and words stuck with each one of us here in a unique way and impacted the most important parts of our individual lives.

Regardless of the memory it’s evident that you were RESPECTED – there is one seat in the kitchen that we all knew better than to try and take.

You embodied what it means to LOVE – you unapologetically loved your wife for all of us to see and replicate in our future relationships, and no matter how full your house was we always knew there was room for one more of us…. But if we were gunna eat somewhere other than the table we had better put some paper towel or newspaper down…

You showed us how to WORK HARD – and although some of us only knew you after you were retired, that front porch was swept to perfection every single day, before you shared stories of your journeys years before.

And that you left a LEGACY – just look around. 9 children, 23 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, 7 great-great-grandchildren, and counting. Doctors, business owners, pastors, chemists, teachers, engineers, artists, lawyers, nurses, and more.

It goes without saying, but we will miss you, Granddaddy. We will always remember that you love us, that you’re proud of us, and to “stay with the group.”

– Elon Nadeen

One comment

  1. Elon,
    What a powerfully loving tribute to your “ Grand Daddy “. Bless you for blessing him
    and all of us, by putting your memories of him in perfect perspective.
    He transitioned his life on this earth, leaving an amazing legacy. And such a beautifully special, much loved piece of his legacy is YOU!

    Never forget among others, you are certainly the courageous, strong, successful and strong willed, grand daughter of Felton Jefferson Smith. Draw on his spirit, as you need to. You may find that you have many attributes similar to his.

    With love and respect,

    Sent from my I phone
    Phyllis J. Sloan

    For these are all our children. We will all profit by, or pay for, whatever they become.
    -James Baldwin

    Liked by 1 person

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