Inspired by my grandaddy, John Dudley Gunn, on his 83rd birthday...
My grandaddy is spending his day flying home from Winnapeg, Canada after a 10-day fishing trip with a few of his best buds. I remember this time last year when he, my dad, and Brandon went on a 5-day fishing trip to Canada and he swore that would be his last "big trip" before he died. Man was he wrong. He is still going strong and I am thankful that he gets to spend these precious years enjoying the things he loves most.
My grandaddy is one of the hardest working men I know. He was unable to enlist in the military due to severe asthma which left him with finding a career during the 1940's. He chose pharmacy and left his hometown of Millen, Georgia to attend Southern School of Pharmacy in Atlanta. After obtaining his degree, he went back to Millen, worked for a local pharmacy, and married my granny, Sallie Pearl Bradham Gunn (who is hands down the sweetest, most precious lady I know). Granny worked at the telephone company as an operator. In 1956, my dad was born and when he was two years old, grandaddy moved the family to Wadley, Georgia and bought out Tarver Drug. And then was born Gunn Drug Company, which is still operating today. My grandaddy worked hard at building his business. Obviously I wasn't around at that time to see for myself but I know he worked diligently based on what I have been told. He opened the store seven days a week. Now Sunday is reserved for church and is the day of rest but back in grandaddy's day, doctors would open on Sundays. If people were sick and went to the doctor they needed medicine but there was no where else to go. That's why in his early days, the business was open seven days. Gunn Drug Company is now open Monday thru Saturday. However, my parents still take Saturday afternoon and Sunday calls, sometimes making up to three trips to open the store for those who cannot wait until Monday for medicine. My grandaddy set a good example of being available for others that my parents now follow. I am unclear about the timeline of other businesses my grandaddy owned and operated--Louisville Drug, Gunn Pharmacy in Millen and Glendale Nursing Home. Although he is now retired from pharmacy, you won't find him sitting still. He could be in the woods operating heavy machinery, tending to business in his office at the drug store, or working on his hunting club in Bartow. See what I mean about a hard-working man?!
My grandaddy was and continues to be a generous man as well. He is a patron of many organizations, former mayor of Wadley, faithful attendee Central Baptist Church. He shares his land in Bartow, Georgia for people to hunt deer, turkey, dove, and hog. He drives to the coast several times a year to buy fresh shrimp to bring home and cook for others. On Monday nights, he hosts the "Grumpy Old Men's Club" at his clubhouse where he and his croanies cook, eat, and I don't want to know what else they do or talk about! My grandaddy contributed to my education, transportation, and encouraged me when I made the decision to follow Christ. He and my granny have been loving and generous to my brother and me, his only grandchildren. We are forever grateful.
To conclude, I believe that the recipe for a happy life is demonstrated through my grandaddy's life. Work hard, enjoy the simple things, give to others, cherish time with family and friends, and most importantly hold firm to your beliefs and faith in God and you, too, will be blessed with joy during our short time in this world.
Happy birthday, Grandaddy. As I celebrate you today, I pray that we will be blessed with many more years together.