Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Running again.

But those who trust in The Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.  ~~ Isaiah 40:31

James Taylor Upchurch, Jr. 
May 1, 1927 - December 31, 2014

My Daddy was one of the first recreational runners in Montgomery. He loved his church, his family, Auburn football, fine art, and 60 Minutes (before they got too liberal).  Sailing gave him great joy and being on the water at Lake Martin was as close to Heaven as he ever got, when he was tangled up in his mortal frame. 

He laughed easily, remembered every act of love, and delighted in technology and spreadsheets.

He had the latest everything, and there wasn't a gadget that hit the market for which he wasn't first in line. 

He worked hard, so that when he wasn't working he could work hard at playing - which to him usually involved working in the yard or at the lake. When he could no longer do that as well, his new hobby became supervising those who could.

He was a maker of lists, whose motto (one of many, anyway) was "Plan your work, and work your plan."   He was Pap, not only to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but to all their friends as well. 

My daughter-in-law said to me just a couple weeks ago that when I was looking hard at something I make "the Pap Face."  It's something I realized that all four of us children do. I think it's in our DNA. 

His practical side became his most endearing personality trait. When Henry and I told my parents we intended to marry on January 5 of the following year, he advised Henry that it would be smarter to move the date up by a week, for income tax purposes, especially since, he added, "Eleanor can't cook, and I'm not sure she knows what end of a broom is supposed to meet the floor, but you can claim her as a dependent and y'all can get a refund."

We were married December 29. 

He fell in love with our Mama the first time he laid eyes on her, at age 11, at a Rotary baseball game in which both their fathers were playing. They courted in the shadow of the church in which we will celebrate his life this weekend. I don't know, really, how I feel about what exactly happens to souls when the bodies around them die, but somehow I feel certain in my bones that there was a reunion somewhere, somehow, in the dark, quiet hours between midnight and the first break of dawn that made me feel, for the first time since the day my mother died three years ago, as though order in the universe has been restored. 

Rest in peace, Daddy. 


  1. Just perfect, Eleanor. I learned some defining qualities of your father and felt like I'd had a visit with him. So many endearing and admirable things and maybe a few that caused you to shake your head at times.

  2. When my daddy died I felt the same way. As if mum was there to greet him with a: "What kept you?" Love and hugs my dear friend. Your eloquent words are, once again, perfectly stated.

  3. Perfectly written!