I'm Gonna post this again---If you wonder what kind of Parents I have and what kind of Grandparents O'Neal has---Read this---They are the BEST people I know...
His panicky Dad kept running back and forth, keeping us posted on O’Neal’s entrance into the world. Our wait was rewarded when we looked through the glass. I saw a wide-shouldered newborn with blonde hairs on his arms. The October surprise was here.
Soon we saw piercing blue eyes that caused us to do things for him. My most memorable moment came when first held my arms out to him. He “checked me out” for several moments and decided I was ok. Then he stuck both arms out. I passed inspection and the bonding begun. It’s my most precious memory of O’Neal.
Then words came. He said, “Da Da’ and Joel was thrilled. Then he looked at the doorknob and said, “Da Da”. He later distinguished between the two. Somewhere along the way he named me “Poppy”.
Baby-sitting was regular for Mimmy and I as his Dad tried to “scratch out a living”. Often we rode him around in the car. He preferred it to the rocking chair to induce naps. I pushed him all over the neighborhood in a wheelbarrow. Huge dogs came up and sniffed as he petted them. I gathered rocks so he could throw them in water holes yelling, “Taw!”
An antique Honda 50 sat in the shed. He spied it and begged me to get it out, I told him it hadn’t been started in 15 years. He said, “Just let me sit on it.” Of course I tried to crank it. It started! The faith of a child won. We crowded on it and rode around. Once we had a 10-45. He grabbed a stick and was going to whip the cycle. He sure wasn’t going to blame Poppy.
Next we waded Indian Creek. He learned to fish and enjoy nature. We carried my little Saturday-night-special he liked to shoot. His specialty was skipping rocks. He was a quick study and perfected the country sport. Once he said, “Poppy, you know, rocks are paralyzed.” I’ve never heard a more profound description.
It was thrilling to help his Dad coach early baseball. He shined in minor league, but trouble hitting when kin-folks weren’t pitching. Mimmy and I watched him struggle a few years. At age 13, desire, hard work and ability kicked in. He started hitting the ball hard! I could hardly believe it. At 14 he had the teams highest batting average and was batting 4th as in clean up!
Then football came. I’m thinking he’ll always be just lineman. But he’s a running back now and can move “the rock” downfield when necessary. It’s fantastic how he’s developed.
He’s 15 today and a “tween-ager”: The age between bicycle and cars. Soon he’ll be driving by my house and honking his horn. But I figure he’ll often stop and talk a little. We have a good relationship, don’t you know. He’s living up to his first name, and was baptized recently with his two best friends.
He’s evolved from “Oat-Neal” to “Slo-Neal”(as a hillbilly coach named him before his athleticism kicked in). Now he’s just “O”. When we look at him, we think, “O my goodness!”
Happy 15th, Mr. Christian O’Neal Franks