My grandfather died last Thursday and my family and I attended the funeral on Monday. My mother, later, was kind of upset that the preacher didn’t really tell any stories about him other than just that he was an old, sick man. The preacher mostly just talked about how this was a sad time and we should take comfort in each other and in Jesus. It was almost like he had a standard funeral speech and it wasn’t really about my grandfather at all. There was so much more to him than just an old man who was very sick.
Now, I really never knew him, so I don’t have any of my own stories to tell about him. But my mother told me a couple and I think I can remember a couple things other people said at the funeral. So, I thought I’d write those down here and then give everybody a link to the page so they can share these stories and add their own (or correct me if I’ve gotten it wrong). I thought this might be a nice way for people to remember and share their stories about him.
Just to make it easy, I’m going to refer to him as Joe. That’s because he’s Grandpa or Granddaddy to me and my cousins, Daddy to my mom and Barbara, etc. This will make it simpler. I’m also paraphrasing. I can’t remember well enough to quote exactly what people said, word-for-word, but I think I can get the stories right anyway.
Mom (Vickie Holland) said:
Joe wasn’t perfect. He was hard on his kids and they were afraid of him. But he was Daddy to them and they loved him anyway. She remembered every year there was a fair they’d go to. It was the highlight of their year and they’d save up all their allowance for two months to have enough to spend on the rides. But if Joe ever found out he’d say, “I don’t know why you want to waste your money on that.” and it would always just squelch their excitement. So, they learned never to mention that they were saving for it and just enjoy it when it came.
Well, she remembered one time they were out of town and they went to an amusement park. Joe was standing there watching them having fun on the rides. Every time they’d get off he’d ask them if they liked the ride and, if they said yes, he’d give them some money to go ride it again. Mom said she was thinking, “I like this Daddy. What happened to my Daddy?” because it was so uncharacteristic of him. He just kept giving them money all night and they had a wonderful time.
The preacher was talking about how Joe had played the guitar. There was a song he used to mostly play that they played at the service called “Wildwood Flower”. The preacher made it sound like Joe just played his guitar all the time and he loved music. Vickie said that he was actually very shy about it. He did like to play and sometimes even sing, but not out around folks. Mostly just in his bedroom at night. He didn’t play many songs, but that song was one that he particularly liked and was good at. It was a lively, happy song.
She said he’d gotten that guitar as a gift from his kids and her Uncle Dick. Dick had all the kids chip in money for the guitar, but really, he paid for it mostly. But that way it could be a gift from the kids to their daddy. He did that because he knew the whole Cribbs family was kind of musical and Joe could play by ear a little, but didn’t have an instrument. He thought Joe would like it, and he did.
Jamie Cribbs said:
They went out fishing and stuff a lot, but what he remembered was the odd things Joe would do that seemed out of character. Like he’d never play around with stuff. He’d always say, “If you play with it, you’re going to break it.” and he was always especially careful about his trucks. But one time he’d gotten a new truck and him and Jamie were out driving. Well, Joe decided to try out the truck, really put it through it’s paces. And he was driving around corners, making it slide, driving fast, just playing with his truck. At one point he slid it completely sideways on the road. That was so much fun and it’s one of the memories that stands out for Jamie.
B.J. Cannaday said:
She was wearing some high boots that were kind of scuffed at the toes. She said that Joe had never liked anything she wore and was always complaining about it. But when she’d worn these boots, he’d said, “Those are some nice boots.” So, even though she’d scuffed them up since and they weren’t in as good a shape as she’d like, she wore those boots to the funeral because Joe liked them.
Lorene Cribbs said:
Sometimes people would call on the phone asking for Loraine (mispronouncing her name) and Joe would always say something like, “Loraine doesn’t live here, but Lorene is here.” He wanted people to get her name right.
Now, there’s either a comment box at the very bottom of this page or (if this page is showing several posts) there’ll be a link under this post saying “3 COMMENTS” (or whatever number) and, if you click on that, you can post there. I’d like everybody to add a comment below and share their own Joe stories so that everyone can remember him as he was in life, not just as he was when he was near his death.
If anyone missed the obituary, it can be found here.
15 thoughts on “In Memory of Joe C. Cribbs”
B.J. Cannaday told me, via Facebook:
“When told a joke he kept a straight face. He thought it was funnier if you thought he didn’t think it was funny. “
He liked to tickle us, especially because when we tried to tickle him back he wasn’t ticklish. He would pretend to giggle in a silly way so we were sure to know he wasn’t really ticklish. He also liked to catch us not paying attention to him and then pinch us with his toes.
The name of the song was “Wildwood flower.”
It was definitely BJ’s boots that grandaddy liked. I think he might have thought they were waders or that they had some other utilitarian purpose. That was just the way he was. He never approved of anything superfluous.
Thanks, I made those changes. 🙂
BJ and I were actually talking at her house the night before the wake. We were trying to list some of our good memories of him. I’m sad to say, it wasn’t a very long list because he was so stern, but we did manage to come up with a few things. We also figured that part of the reason that he was so stern with us is because we were probably completely undisciplined in his eyes. I’d bet we drove him crazy and he just took every opportunity to instill some manners in his rowdy grandchildren. We came to the conclusion that the only reason we have any morals or manners is because of grandma and grandaddy.
I got lost on a bit of a side street there, so now I’ll get back to my intended point. One of the memories that I didn’t list the other night was completely forgotten until I was reading your blog and I saw the part about Uncle Dick buying the guitar and grandaddy being able to play by ear. I don’t really remember him playing that guitar except maybe once (though I do remember not being allowed to touch it so he must have loved it).
Anyway, I remember being at a family reunion at the W. W. Mann center in Brooklet, GA. I must have been around 10 years old. There was a piano against one of the walls and I was always fascinated with pianos (probably because I was never allowed to play with them). That day I guess I decided to push my luck because I sat down and started tapping keys. I could only play “Mary had a Little Lamb” and a portion of “Jesus loves me.” I kept trying to figure out which keys to push to complete “Jesus loves me.” I remember looking up at one point and seeing grandaddy headed in my direction. I knew at that point that I had gotten on his nerves and he was coming over to put an end to my noise making “racket.” I was stunned when he walked up to the piano and said, “Let me show you.” He then finished the song for me with out a single mistake. I said, “I didn’t know you could play piano, grandaddy!” He said, “I can’t.” Then he walked away like it was no big deal. I guess it wasn’t to him, but I thought it was incredible!
What a great memory!
I got an electric organ for Christmas one year. I really wanted to learn to play it and tried very hard to do it for a while. Daddy and Dick could sit down and easily pick out songs (by ear) on it. He thought that I should be able to do the same and thought I just wasn’t trying very hard. Unfortunately, he seems not to have passed me the musical gene.
Karen, thanks for starting this blog. And thanks to Faith & BJ for adding their comments. When we get some contributions, we will have to print it and send it to Mama and Barbara. I know they would enjoy it.
As Faith mentioned, at Daddy’s house, children (visitors as well as his own) weren’t allowed to misbehave (his house, his rules). He didn’t like any kind of rowdiness in the house. One exception I remember was when our cousins, Lewis and Robert came to visit. I would have been 6 years old or younger. We started a game of hide-and-seek in the house. I think we were all expecting that he would soon notice and put a stop to the commotion. When he noticed me trying to find a good hiding place, he put his finger on his lips to tell me to keep quiet. He picked me up and put me on top of the refrigerator. Whoever was “it” looked and looked and couldn’t find me. Finally, I couldn’t keep from laughing and he finally “found” me. (The top of the refrigerator is a great place to hide from really short children!) He did have a sense of humor, but he didn’t let it out often enough.
Yeah, I thought I’d print off copies for Grandma and Barbara when it looks like everybody’s done sharing. I’m also sending a letter to Barbara asking if she has any stories she’d like to contribute. I figure she can mail them to me and I can post them here for her. Do you think Grandma would like to contribute as well? Or maybe she’d rather just read everyone else’s stories. What do you think?
Daddy used to collect old coins from the time he worked at a service station and would sometimes get old coins when making change. Once, he had a deal with a guy who collected the coins from parking meters. Daddy would roll the coins after sorting through them to collect any valuable ones. The coins were mostly pennies and he enlisted us to help him sort and roll them. I am not sure who got the best end of that deal, because Lincoln pennies seemed like the proverbial needles in a haystack. We liked doing it because it was something we did together.
Another thing I liked doing was reloading shotgun shells. I had no real interest in hunting or guns, but it was fun to reload the shells. Daddy had a semi-automatic machine that we used to do it. It knocked out the old cap, then inserted the new one, then inserted the powder, wadding and shot before crimping the shell. If you did it right, it looked like a brand new shell.
One night, Daddy came home and he asked Mama and us what we were planning to do that night. We didn’t have anything particular planned and said so. He said, “Well, I don’t know about you, but I thought I would go down to the drive-in”. I don’t remember him ever going to the movies with us before (except “The Frog” debaucle), but we all got ready and headed down to see the movie. I’m not sure, but I think the movie was “Thunder Road”.
Jamie Cribbs sent me the following via Facebook:
“My name is Jamie Cribbs grandson of Joe Cribbs Sr. Granddaddy could tell you things that he did and you didn’t want him to stop telling stories.
Like the one story he told me about when he went to school in Stilson. There was train that would run past the school. When the train would run by the school he would get up to sharpen his pencil to look out of the window.
He told me a story about his old dog he had in the back yard at Griffin Lake. The dog would get to barking a lot, so Granddaddy would take a switch to the dog. Well, over time Granddaddy got the dog to quit by knocking on the window in his bedroom the dog would hear him and stop barking.
Monday all the way to Saturday he was doing something if it wasn’t out in the field he was riding around. He liked to get out and ride around to the pound looking around for deer tracks or see what was going on, checking on his fields, talking about how he was going to try to keep the deer out of his field, and seeing if someone was out doing something. He would stop and talk for a minute. He would always watch the time. He knew Grandma would have something to eat around one, so he made sure of being home about lunch time.
Grandma would get up every morning to cook breakfast and make coffee. You could set your clock by him. Just about after he would eat he would turn on the news, watch TV, drink some coffee, and smoke. Then he may do something around the house or get out.
When he got onto you about something you could look at him and see him trying to understand what and why you did it. Like, lets say you bump into something and you kick it. He would look at you and say what good did that do the things?
He could tell the time he killed the snake over by the graveyard. He told me about that 13 times, about killing that snake, but you know it was good to hear that story. He always told a good story and I never knew him to lie about anything.
He showed me a lot. There’s just so much more that I can tell you. He was a family man. He was happy. I’ve never seen him cry or sad. I hope someone else that reads this can add something to this. I know I’ll miss him, but never will I forget him. I’ll always ask what he’d do if i get into anything or what ever, because I know he will me over come whatever it is I get into. I’ll write more. I didn’t want to keep anyone waiting.”
Granddad did play his guitar in front of people. Yall just don’t remember cause he didn’t do it any more after uncle Dick past away. My mom would tell me not to sing. she said I sounded terrible. but granddad liked it when I would sing him a song. I don’t remember what song it was but they would let me sing with them. it was always very fun. The two of them were happy right there on that porch. they knew lots of songs. Grandad liked george jones take this job and shove it. but he didint like me to sing that cause it wasn’t nice.
Grandma sometimes let me hear his records when he wasn’t home.
At the funeral Mr.Blitch told me funny stories that all involved granddad being bad. He tied a trash can lid to a cows tail. He sent uncle dicks dog running into a trout line full of hooks. He had a lot of storys from their youth. That left me thinking…maybe I had more in common with granddad then I ever thought. He was always worried about us behaving. I don’t think he ment for us to know anything about him being bad or funny. I believe he would want us to think of him as solid,as some one who took care of his responsibilities. He would want us to remember him as some one with old fashion values,as a serious man with morals. He would have rather us remember to have the same values and manners he had then for us to be left with funny stories.
BJ, you are right about him playing guitar around people. (Karen misunderstood that. It was the singing that I think he was shy about.) And, I didn’t mean that “Wildwood Flower” was the only thing he played. It just seemed to be one of his favorites. He wasn’t shy about playing around people. He enjoyed playing with Dick and also with the aunts and uncles on mama’s side. Sometimes they would all get together and play and sing country music. I don’t remember him singing with them (maybe he would when he could just be part of the chorus), but he would play guitar. The only time I remember hearing him sing was at night, when he was playing guitar in his bedroom.
I am thinking of putting together a “Remembering Joe” photo book using the notes that everyone has contributed + some of the old family pictures. I hadn’t thought of it before, but I think I will send a note to Edward and Winona Blitch and ask them to contribute.
Sorry. Second-hand stories sometimes get things wrong. I guess I misunderstood. :-}
From Eva Sanders via e-mail:
To share a memory I have of Joe: When I started first grade, Joe attended the same school and was eight years older than I—not sure his grade level. I was fine while in the classroom with the teacher and other children; however, when we went out for recess I cried my eyes out. First through eleventh grades attended the same school and all of us had recess at the same time. Joe would find me and let me walk around with him and his friends until time for me to go back to the classroom. This lasted for three months!! Finally, I adjusted to school with his help. I will always remember how he took me under his wing and put up with my clinging to him for all that time. Maybe he thought about me like a little sister because my family lived very close to our grandparents when Aunt Janie, Dick and Joe were growing up. I was born in the old family home, which is now falling down, and then Mama Cribbs (our grandmother) built a small house for us a little ways from her house. We saw them most every day.
I doubt many would picture Joe coming to a scared, crying little girl and allowing her to tag along with him and his high school buddies. He did that for me and I loved him. My family moved away so that I had to go to a different school, but I do remember Joe graduating from high school and my mother pressing his gown to perfection. It was a proud day when he got his diploma. My mother was the first of the family to graduate, then Aunt Janie and the youngest of the family, Joe.
Thanks for allowing me to share this with you.