Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why Did I Choose The Name PawPaw?

I could be Grandpa, Granddad, Pappy...whatever, but I decided that I wanted to be called Pawpaw. Why's a memory I have of days gone by. You see a good friend of mine had some property in the family, along a beautiful river called the Cacapon River, in West Virginia. It is located just west of Berkley Springs, which is highlighted by the red dot below. Home of America's first spa, dating back to 1747. Paw Paw, West Virginia had a population of only 524 people in 2000, yet stands out in my mind as if it was a major city.
In the eastern part of West Virginia, and just out of my homestate of Virginia, was this beautiful country riverfront campsite. My friend's property was off the beaten path, no paved roads to this place. But it was worth every pothole and bump off Route 9.
But once you got to the "hu", a hut that was falling down, you got to see some of Gods best work. Rolling riverfront, animals running around and as quiet as if you were sitting on a star and looking down at earth.You could go fishing, swimming or take a hike along trails made by generations of backpackers, maybe even historians. And once you reach the top of a mountain you could see for miles, and miles. The Cacapon River, Potomac that Russia across the that was someone else who say that..anyway beautiful landscape, still undeveloped.

Fresh spring water would run out of the mountains. It was the coldest water I ever tasted, I can almost feel the coldness thinking about it. And after hiking or swiming, nice cold water hit the spot.

Speaking of swimming, this looked like the same diving spot we use to jump off into the river..I remember the time that I dove head first and hit bottom...might be why I am the way I am...but I enjoyed it. We would bring tubes to the "hu", hut, and raft down the river. No one around, camping under the stars or in a tent...peaceful times and great memories.
I won't say it wasn't scary...the first couple of times we went I hardly slept...never saw darkness so black..made ya think of the boogieman in the woods you always heard about.
We would cook over a fire, drink a few brews, and enjoy the time we had in Gods country. Well, except the time I fell in the river with my waders on...boy did I shoot down those rapids fast...but the Lord was watching over me. Great times, and with a great friend. Luckily I have found that friend again recently...he and I have known each other for 47 years...I lost him for awhile but have remade contact and look forward to catching up.
The "hu", hut, never looked like this castle that is in nearby Berkley Springs, West Virginia, but to us they both were impossible to knock down. The hut was flooded many times and mother nature wasn't kind to it, yet it never was distroyed. I wonder if it still is's been a long time since I have been up there...I'll have to ask my friend.
So Pawpaw is a reminder for me to be the grandfather I never had..I always said I was my own Grandpa...sadly I had to learn lifes twist and turns on my own. It would have been nice to have had a Pawpaw who could take me places, do things with me...I will do that for my grandkids...I have a mission in life. I will think back to my time I spent in the hills of West Virginia...maybe someday I'll take a grandchild up that way and go exploring.
So Pawpaw's Wisdom is this...look up that old friend who you lost...the one that really help make you who you are...find them and keep in touch...we let people go so easily. And remember the best time in your childhood and redo it with your child or children...pass on the memories of a lifttime that you cherish today. Stop and enjoy life, love your kids or grandkids, and make memories with them that someday they will remember long, long from now.
I hope my grandkids will say someday "Remember when Pawpaw did.......", it's up to me. I have a mission in life...and with God's help and a little time I will fulfill that mission.


  1. Words of wisdom to brighten the day! :)

  2. Aww- it looks so pretty there! You will definitely have to show Ryder where the "Paw Paw roots came from"

  3. What a sweet memory, baby!! I loved your pictures and info. Love, Elsie