Despite never being one for exercise, my Papaw Delmer has always been on the move. He grew up on a family farm in Appalachia, walking the hills as he completed his chores. Farming helped feed his family.
When Papaw hit retirement age, he stopped working at the factory and found more time to spend working with his cattle and garden. He never set out to exercise, yet still logged miles and miles walking the hills of our East Tennessee home.
Add that to his teetotaling perspective on alcohol, and it’s a little ironic that my grandfather is a multi-award-winning participant in the annual On Cosby Moonshine Run (a threeish-mile road race near his home.) My mom and I signed up for the race, and not being one to turn down a walk or good conversation, Papaw joined us.
Papaw’s first time competing in the race, he won second place in the 70s age group. When his eightieth birthday rolled around, we knew his walking pace would allow for a first-place victory. A few weeks following his birthday, he proved us right and brought home the medal.
We hoped to hike Mount LeConte with him, a popular summit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, our best intentions never materialized. While still healthier than a good portion of people half his age, time began to catch up with Papaw Delmer.
At the beginning of 2018, a trip outside doing routine chores started an avalanche of dominos which made for a difficult season for our family.
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