Altar Call Ė Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

July 23, 2017


A sonís memories of his grandfather


†††††† My siblings and I are planning an Albritton Family Reunion in August. There are now in the family 163 descendants of my father. To help the younger ones, who never knew the man we called Papa, I am assembling a book of memories written by family members who knew daddy.

†††††† One of my sons, Tim, serves as State Forester for USDA Ė Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Auburn. As you read Timís reflections, I think you will realize why it is so important that we share precious memories of those upon whose shoulders we stand today. Here now, in his own words, are some of Timís memories of his grandfather: †††††††††

Growing up as a grandson in the Walter M. Albritton (Papa) family was, to say the least, most interesting. If one of my cousins would ever tell me they werenít intimidated and a little fearful of Papa, I would question their honesty.

Papa had a stern, disciplined way about him and as a young boy, you didnít want to be caught moving too slowly, or not reacting at the speed he was expecting. If he asked you for the wire-stretchers you had better know what they were or you would forever remember it after that day.

However, as I grew older, my relationship developed into one of appreciation and less of fear. I learned to appreciate Papa for his keen understanding of so many different things Ė farming, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and wood working. The last one, wood-working, is where Papa taught me the most because I have always had a natural God-given interest and knack for working with wood. So I was interested in learning from him and I did.

One of my first full-time jobs after college was working as a carpenter building houses in Pensacola. I give Papa credit for helping me acquire the basic skills and understanding to handle that job.

Years later after I was married and had two children, Papa and Grandmother (in their late 80ís) invited Karen and me to come and live with them while I went back to Auburn to finish my degree in forestry. Papa had some projects waiting for me when we arrived and it was nice to be able then to help him when he was not physically able to do the things he wanted done.

And with most wood-working projects you needed nails, and with Papa you could always count on that old paint bucket of old used nails in the shop. And the shop was always kept locked with the key in his pocket. Papa cared about his tools and he made sure if you borrowed something, you put it back, and in the place where he wanted it.

Papa always carried a pocket knife; living on a farm there is always a need for a knife. One day I asked Papa if he had ever heard of swapping knives. He said yes, so I asked him if he would swap knives with me. We swapped knives and I kept Papaís knife for many years, cherishing it as a keepsake from my grandfather. A year or two ago I gave it to my son Joseph. I believe he is old enough to know that knife has great value. That knife is not valuable because of the maker or the brand or the style, but because of the man that carried it.

My grandfather had many honorable and respected qualities. He was dependable, hard-working and God fearing; and he loved and provided for his wife and family until he died in 1995 at the age of 93. I loved him and I guess I am paying him the highest compliment you can pay an individual Ė I am still modeling my life after his example. + + +