Chapter 3: Oris Godsey

Oris C. Godsey

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle The other is as though everything is a miracle. — Albert Einstein

Now before you start thinking that my father’s family had little to do with my childhood, let me introduce you to my Grandfather Godsey (Oris Cornell Godsey). In order to get the full flavor of my grandfather Godsey you have to picture what he was like. First off, he stood four foot and eleven inches high. He was slightly hunched from a hard life of hard labor and had to walk with the assistance of a cane. Towards the end of his life, you never saw him with out his 2 aluminum crutches. They served a dual purpose, to swing at a wayward child and to hold him up.

Don’t misunderstand me; my grandfather was a gentle soul before the Alzheimer’s set in. After his mind started slipping he became abusive but that is another chapter entirely. He was a strong influence on my young life. You see, my grandfather had polio as a child and one of his legs was shorter than the other. He had to wear shoes that had built up soles. Then as a young man, he worked in an airplane manufacturing plant during World War II. While working there he was in an accident. He was drug into the machine he was working with and was crushed from the hips down. The doctors at the time told him that he would never walk again, but despite that he did walk again.

He always taught me that giving up was not an option. If you where going to spend the time to do something then you needed to see it to its completion. He was living proof that this was a fact. After his wife passed away he worked at night for the Yellow Cab Company in Hopkinsville to support his family. There were many occasions where his life was placed in danger but he never gave up.

My Grandfather lived with us for as long as I could remember. There were mornings that we would get up to find my grandfather lying in the floor. He could not bend at the hips or knees, so if he fell down he would have to be helped up. He used to fix me a big breakfast every morning. He could cook the best eggs and not even bust the yellows. His white beans and cornbread were to die for. There are times even to this day that I can taste his beans and cornbread.

Ferrell Hamburgers in Hopkinsville, KY

One of the fondest memories I have of my grandfather Godsey was the times we would walk to Ferrell’s and get a couple of hamburgers and drinks. Mr. Ferrell, if he was in the restaurant, would always give us the burgers for free. My grandfather had routinely purchased large quantities of these little burgers for the cab drivers when he worked for the Yellow Cab in Hopkinsville. It was Mr. Ferrell’s little way of saying thank you.

After obtaining our burgers and drinks, we would walk up to the furniture store on the corner (the name escapes me at this moment) and sit on their loading dock and eat our burgers as we watch traffic go by. The loading dock was just high enough that my grandfather could sit on it without having to bend.

Once we had finished our meal, we would walk the mile or so to the JR Foods mini-mart and get our desert of candy. The man who ran the JR Foods was another friend of my grandfather and seemed to enjoy seeing us on our monthly outing. Despite not being able to find it at the moment, the gentleman who ran the shot was murdered a few years later as he closed up his shop. The thief got away with less than $100 for the crime. They were caught, but it was little consolation.

My grandfather Godsey was a man of many talents as well. He was a musician and played with many groups in the Southeast as a young man. He even spent time on the Grand Ole Opry. As a kid, I remember him being visited by people like Sarah Cannon (better known as Minnie Pearl), Louis Jones (Grandpa Jones), James Dickens (Little Jimmy Dickens), and various others that escape my memory at the moment. These people would come to visit my grandfather when he lived with us and some of them (those still alive) would visit him in his final days in the nursing home.

After they discovered my grandfather had cancer, he went to live at the nursing home. He continued to play the guitar and banjo for the residents at the nursing home. Many of his friends from Nashville would visit and put on little skits for the residents. It was always a sight to see!

My grandfather slipped on a half-eaten biscuit at Hardees in Hopkinsville and the resulting fall punctured his lung. Between that and the cancer, three days later he passed. He was at peace and was right with God when he passed. And we were there by his side. I knew it was coming because two weeks prior to his death, he told me that he had been visited in a dream by my grandmother, Hazel. She had passed away long before I was born. And she had told him that it was time to come home.

My grandfather Godsey had pretty much raised me and with his passing, I felt completely alone in the world.

My grandfather was my hero. He did so much in his life and touch so many people. This is evidenced by the article below ran in the Kentucky New Era less than a year before he died. I can only hope (but I doubt) that I can live up to his legacy.

Chapter 4