Living in Cleveland as a Single Man

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsI did something today I very rarely get to do.  I took the day off work.

Now that is subject to change at any time.  The phone could ring, and I might have to put on a suit real fast and head to the office.  But that is okay.  It’s what I do.

After waking up and having a cup of coffee, the thought hit me that I might want to clean my townhouse today.

Now let me explain something right here.

I am not what one would consider being “OCD”.    But I do like for things to be clean and kept neat.

I do my own laundry several times a week.  I clean my own dishes by hand.  (I have never met a dishwasher I liked).  I like to do my own cooking.  (Unless I have an urge for the “Taco Truck”…which is happening more frequently).

But vacuuming, dusting and bathroom fixtures have never really been my things.

As a matter of fact, I discovered this morning that I do not even own a vacuum!

I lived in the apartment at the funeral home for so long and always used the vacuum there.  I have mostly hardwood and tile floors in my townhouse, so I never really needed one here, except for the carpeted bedrooms.

However, as soon as this blog is complete, I am on my way to find a good, cheap vacuum cleaner.

So here is the biggest question of all.

Which comes first…dusting or vacuuming?

If my mother, God rest her soul, were still here she could tell me.

I have different theories on this matter.

One.  If you dust first and then vacuum…it seems like you are going to stir up a lot more dust.

Two.  If you vacuum first and then dust…you will be walking all over your freshly vacuumed carpet and making footprints everywhere.

And the next question I have…why am I even worried about this?

I have decided to dust first and then vacuum.

If your vacuum cleaner has a good enough filtering system, stirring up more dust should not be a problem.

Now…back to the cleaning the bathrooms.

Who, in their right mind, wants to stick their hand in a toilet where…well, you know!

So what does a thirty-year embalmer do?  He puts on a pair of embalming gloves and tackles the commode!!

These suckers go all the way up to my elbows!  Most protection one could ask for from a pair of rubber gloves.

Toilets cleaned…. Check!

The sink and bathtub…no problem!

My parents raised me to be a clean person and pick up after myself.  Once a week, my chores around the house consisted of dusting and vacuuming.  My mom took care of the bathroom fixtures.

It was dad’s job to wash the dishes after supper and take care of the yard work.

I am not sure what my brother’s responsibilities were.  I think he just stayed in his room and memorized sermons on cassette tape of Ray Hughes, Sr. so he could preach them the following Sunday.

All of us took turns washing clothes.

Speaking of washing clothes.  My mother would hang EVERYTHING on the clothesline outside in the backyard to dry.

EVERYTHING!

Sheets, towels, socks, dad’s dress shirts, and all the underwear!

Come to think of it…she even hung HER BRA on the clothesline!

Do you know what it is like to have your friends over after school to shoot some hoops and your mother’s bra hanging on a rope just 10 feet away from the basketball goal??

No wonder I did not have many friends growing up!

(I am kidding, I had lots of friends.)  But I am not kidding about the bra hanging on the clothesline!!

Cleaning the townhouse, cooking, going out to restaurants by myself, going to movies alone, going to church alone.  Sitting at home on the weekends, by myself, trying to figure out what to do that night.

These are all things I will be sharing in my upcoming blogs, “Living Life in Cleveland…as a Single Man”.

Until next time…GO CUBS and VOTE DIANNA CALFEE!

I Would Do it All Over Again

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsIn a previous blog, I explained to all of you how I became a funeral director.

I won’t repeat all of that information, except to say I was 10 years old and held a funeral service for my Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll that my parents bought me for Christmas.

I am not sure what it was.  It was just in my blood from a very early age.  This is the profession that I chose.  This is what I do.

When I was 18 years old, and getting ready to graduate high school, my father took me to breakfast one Saturday morning to meet the town’s local funeral home owner, Mr. Donald B. Jarka of Lawn Funeral Home.

My dad pastored a local church in the community, and most of the funerals of members in the congregation were held at Lawn Funeral Home.

My father had a great respect for Mr. Jarka.  Knowing I wanted to get in the funeral business after high school, he wanted me to work for Lawn Funeral Home.

Great decision, Dad!

However, I was asked this past week, “What if your father had taken you to breakfast that morning with a local banker?”  Or… “What if your father had taken you to breakfast with a local attorney?”

Great question.  It has certainly had me thinking.

I guess my life would be completely different today.  I am not sure I would have ended up moving to Cleveland, Tennessee in 1988.  I have no idea where I would be today.

But things did not turn out that way!

Have you ever just sat and wondered, what would my life be like today if I had chosen a different occupation?

After working over 30 years in the funeral home profession, I am more than qualified to tell you it is very rewarding…but very difficult business.

You work seven days a week.  You are on call 24 hours a day.  Death does not take a holiday.  Death does not stop at 5:00 p.m. during the weekday.  You miss most holiday events with your family.  You end up cancelling many dinner engagements.  You do not always get to attend church on Sunday.

It takes a lot to make the commitment to become a funeral director and embalmer.

Follow Mark on twitter.

But then I get to thinking about what my father did for a living.

My dad was an ordained bishop in the Church of God.  He served in ministry for over 40 years.

My dad’s life was not his own.  He made the decision early on that he was dedicating and devoting his life and his working career to people.

In my most honest and humble opinion, and not because he is my father, there has never been ANYONE that was a better pastor than my dad, Tom Grissom.

My mother and father gave their entire lives to “serve” others.

Nights.  Weekends.  Holidays.   There was no such thing as a “day off.”

They were always a phone call away from dropping everything…and serving the members of the church.

I am sure there are many other professions and careers that are just the same.  You never really “leave” work.

Oh sure, you may lock up the front door at 5:00 p.m.  But you are always just a phone call away from going back and serving your customers and taking care of your business.

I love what I do for a living.

Since that day at breakfast with my dad and Mr. Jarka, I have never one time looked back and said I wished I had done something else in life.  NEVER!

Oh sure, I am human and I wonder what it would have been like to be a police officer or a doctor or an attorney.  But I absolutely thank God that I am in the funeral home business.

I am proud to serve families and I am proud to minister to loved ones of a deceased individual and help them through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

Are the hours long?  Yes!

Do I work most weekends?  Yes!

Do I miss a lot of appointments to take care of things at work?  Yes!

Would I do it all over again if given the chance?  YOU BETTER BELIEVE I WOULD!

Thank you, dad, for instilling in me the work ethic that you did.  You were the greatest dad and role model anyone could ever ask for.

And besides, if I had been a cop, I doubt they would have let me actually carry a gun with real bullets!!

Until next time….  GO CUBS!

“I Knew I Was Saying Goodbye to my Mom For the Last Time”

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsA good friend from out of town, Donna Hendrix-Cripps, read this tribute to my mother that I had posted on Facebook on the one year anniversary of my mother’s death.

She commented to me in a private message the following…”So sorry about your mom”.

Well, Donna…I am too.

I miss her every single day that goes by.

As it approaches the four year anniversary of her death on December 14th of this year…I would like to share the tribute I wrote to her almost three years ago.

Thank you, Donna, for the reminder.

“Goodbye Mom…I Love You Very Much”
By: Mark Grissom

It was the fall of 1982.  I had left my home in Chicago, Illinois and made my journey to Cleveland, Tennessee to start my freshman year at Lee College.  My mom and dad followed me down to Cleveland to help me get settled in the dormitory.  This was the first time in my life that I was going to be away from home for any length of time and I had mixed emotions.  For the most part, I was probably like most young people at that age, I thought I was a big boy now and I could make it on my own.

My parents made sure I was registered, knew my way around the campus and helped me get moved in to my dorm room…Hughes Hall…Room 320.  Once my clothes and what little bit of furniture I had was moved into my room, I thought I was independent enough and that it was okay for my mom and dad to make their journey on back to Chicago.  Looking back, I probably was too pushy with them to go on home and not worry about me.  I thought I could make it just fine.  Dad was perfectly fine with that.  He was always the one to say…”You’re okay”..or…”You can make it.”

However, my mom, well that was a different story!

Mom did not want to leave!  My mother wanted to stay at least one more day and make sure that I had everything I needed and that “her little boy” was going to be alright!  I remember telling her….”MOM….please go on…I am going to be just fine!”  But that was not good enough for her.  I was her baby boy!  She was not ready to let me go!  She did not want to say…”Goodbye.”

They stayed one more day.  The last day they were in Cleveland, I will never forget my mom crying her eyes out that her son was not going to be with her any longer.  I went to the motel room where they were staying to say goodbye and she was bawling like a baby.  My mom loved me very much….and she did not want to leave me!  I got in my car to drive off and I could see her in the rear view mirror waving at me and the tears were flowing down her cheeks.  The whole time she was telling me…..”Goodbye Mark…..I love you very much!!”

Fast forward to December of 2010.

My mother had been sick for several years with the dreaded disease of Alzheimer’s.  She had been diagnosed with terminal Alzheimer’s by her doctor and my dad and my brother and myself had made the decision to place her in a nursing home facility in Cleveland where they could give her the best possible care for the remainder of her time here on this earth.

The last couple weeks of her life, dad and I would take turns staying with her in the nursing home, because we knew she did not have much time left.  Her body was shutting down, she was getting very weak, and it was getting very close for her time to move from this life into Heaven.  We all knew that.  We all knew that she was leaving us.  Those days, and nights, were very difficult.

I would stay with her during the night and dad would come back to the nursing home about 6:00 a.m. to be with her.  It was a time that we needed…..to say our long goodbye to the greatest wife and mother that anyone could ever ask for.

On December 13, 2010, my mother was barely breathing.  She had been in a comatose state for several days.  She had not eaten and the doctor and nurses were just doing everything they could to keep her comfortable for the remainder of her time here on earth.  That evening, my brother came in town and the three of us were able to spend the last evening with my mom in her room, around her bedside, sharing lots of memories and singing to her and praying.  Late that night my brother went on to my dad’s house to get some rest.  I came back to the nursing home about 1:30 a.m. and begged my dad to go home for a few hours and get some rest and I would stay with mom.  He did not want to go, but I insisted.  He was physically and emotionally exhausted from the days and months prior of being my mom’s caretaker.

About 4:00 a.m. on the morning of December 14, 2010, I watched my mom’s breathing get very shallow.  Her breaths were much further apart.   She had no pain whatsoever.  Thanks to the incredible staff of Signature Healthcare, she was very comfortable and had an incredible peace about her.  I walked over to the foot of her bed…..and I did not want to leave her.  And I did not want her to leave me.  I talked to her.  I kept telling her how much I loved her and that she was the greatest mom in the whole world.  I was saying goodbye to my mom….for the very last time.

At 4:56 a.m., I watched my mother take her last breath here on earth and take her first breath in Heaven.

I called the nurse into the room and told her I thought my mom had passed away.  She very gently went over to her bedside, sat down beside her and checked to see if she had any pulse left at all.  I will never forget her next words to me.  She turned and looked at me and said, “You might need to call your dad, your mom has passed away.”  When I heard those words, I began to cry like a baby.  She came over and gave me a long hug.  She did not say a word…..she just hugged me.  That is what I needed right then.  I just needed to cry…..and she knew that.  She went out of the room to give me some time with my mom.  I stood there looking at my mom and said…..”Goodbye Mom…..I love you very much!”  That was all I could say.  “Goodbye…I love you!”

I now know how my mom felt in the Fall of 1982 when she stood there watching me leave, tears rolling down her cheeks, telling me….”Goodbye Mark….I love you very much.”  It hurts still to this day……but I know beyond any doubt whatsoever that my mom is in Heaven and I will see her again one day.

“There’ll by no sorrow there.  No more burdens to bear.  No more sickness, no more pain.  No more parting over there.  And forever I will be, with the One who died for me.  What a day….GLORIOUS DAY….that will be!”

On this day, the one year anniversary of my mother’s death, I only can think of one thing to say…….”Goodbye Mom…..I love you very much……..and I will see you again!”

In Loving Memory of Patty Ann Carter Grissom
October 20, 1934 – December 14, 2010.

And HE will hold you…….hold you in the palm…..of HIS hand.

Judge Bill Moss: the Loss of a Good Man

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsThere are certain events that take place in our lives that we will never forget.

The times and dates those events take place will forever be embedded in our memory.

September 11, 2001…9:03 a.m.…I was at home and had just turned on the television in time to see the second plane hit the southern facade of the other twin tower in New York City.

December 14, 2010…4:56 a.m.…. I was standing at the foot of my mother’s bed at Signature Healthcare Center and watched her take her last breath and enter into life eternal.

July 14, 2014…12:05 p.m.…. A simple text on my cell phone from the Mayor of Cleveland, Tennessee…”Bill Moss shot at 4th and Broad Street”.  I was standing in the lobby of Grissom Funeral Home getting ready for a 1:00 p.m. funeral service.  I had just been informed that my friend, Judge Moss, had died.

I had never been in his courtroom.  I had never stood before his bench for any kind of legal matter.  I had never used his services as one of the many fine attorneys in Cleveland.

I got to know His Honor from serving members of his family over the years at the Grissom Funeral Home.

My friend, Greg Kaylor, of the Cleveland Daily Banner said it best in his article on Tuesday.  “…with shock and sadness to the tragic end of the life of a beloved and respected member of the local judiciary.”

Judge Moss practiced law in the 10th Judicial District for almost 50 years, according to the Banner article.

He had served 38 years as Cleveland’s City Judge.

There were so many nice comments written about Judge Moss in the article that Greg Kaylor wrote.  Comments from Ashley Ownby, Mayor Tom Rowland, Mayor Gary Davis, attorney Jimmy Logan.

However, the comment that stood out the most to me and is so very true about Bill Moss came from our newly elected District Attorney, Steve Crump.

“We are more than saddened at the loss of a good man,” said Crump.

A “Good Man.”

That was my friend, Bill Moss.

There are so many others in Cleveland who knew Judge Moss far better than I.

I only saw him during the sad occasion of a funeral service, usually.  Or possibly downtown at one of the local restaurants in Cleveland.

I always had the utmost respect for Bill Moss and the position he held as City Judge of Cleveland, TN.  But most of all, I respected him because he earned my respect due to the quality man he was.

He was a very low-key individual.  You could be in a room with Bill Moss and never even know he was there, unless you happened to spot him.

He was not loud.  He did not have a lot to say.

But just like E. F. Hutton…when Judge Moss spoke, people listened.

Most of my conversations with him were just simple handshake, a smile, look him in the eye and say…”Hello Judge.”  To which he would immediately respond, “How’s the funeral business, Mark?”

When tragic events like this take place, it is very common for all of us to wonder “why” or say “what if.”

Only God in Heaven knows why.

I just wish the Judge could have known how much he was loved and appreciated in our community.  I wish the Judge could have been able to read all of the great comments his fellow law buddies had to say about him in the Cleveland Banner.  I wish I had one last chance to shake his hand and tell him what an influence he had on me throughout my 25 plus years of living in Cleveland.

I am sad.  I am hurting.  All of Cleveland is hurting over this loss of such an incredible person.

All of Cleveland is hurting over the loss of “A Good Man.”

Rest In Peace, Your Honor.

“And He will raise you up on Eagle’s Wings…. and hold you in the palm of His Hand.”

In Loving Memory of Cleveland City Judge Bill Moss.

What? You Want Me to Donate to What?

Loving the Cubs... and other problems I have Mark Grissom beaverdamusa.com(Note: Mark is on vacation in Cincinnati this week watching the Cubs drop a three-game series to the Reds. Here is an encore one of his favorite columns.)

I was having a pretty good week. Things seemed to be going well for me. No issues. No problems. It was just a nice, relaxing week. And then… I went to the movies.

No… It is not what you’re thinking. Nobody kicked my chair. Nobody texted during the show. No one even talked during the movie. What my issue turned out to be at the movie was… when I went to pay for my ticket and they asked me would I like to donate $3 to the Children’s Care Fund.

WHAT?? Donate to WHAT?? I have never heard of such an organization, number one. And number two, as much money as they charged me for a movie ticket, coke and popcorn… they should give ME $3!!

They did show me a nice little lapel pin with some logo I had never seen before that they would give me with the donation of $3. BIG DEAL!

Thus, I now have my blog for this week! Thanks to Carmike Cinemas, I remembered one of the major issues I have in life.

Do you all remember how nice it used to be to go up to the cashier in any given store and pay for your merchandise and not be asked, “Would you like to donate to “whatever”?

It seems like everywhere you go now, folks are always asking you for your change, or for a dollar, or the one I hate the most… “Do you have our bonus card?”

ENOUGH ALREADY!! I am sick of it!!

Why can’t I just walk in a store, find what it is I want to buy, walk up to the register, pay them what I owe them for the product and leave?

I will be happy to give you some examples of my frustration.

Kohl’s Department Store. “Would you like to use your Kohl’s charge card?” Me:  NO! “Would you like to apply for a Kohl’s charge card?”  Me: NO! “You do know you could save $10 on your purchase today if you apply for a Kohl’s charge card?” Me: I don’t want any of this stuff! I am GOING TO TARGET!!

Or, Dollar General Store. “Would you like to donate your change to literacy?”  No ma’am, I would not! That is why a huge portion of our tax dollars goes to education… to help kids read!

Or, McDonalds. “Would you like to donate a dollar to the Ronald McDonald House?” Me: NO!

I am sure the Ronald McDonald House does a great job, but a dollar can buy me an extra set of chicken nuggets!

One more! How many places do you go in now and go up to pay for your merchandise and you hear these awful, dreaded words… ”Would you like the 2 year warranty on this?”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Is the brand new merchandise I am buying from you really that shabby of a product that you need to sell me a two-year extended warranty?? Come on man!! If that’s the case… I do not want it!

I just wish we could go back to the days where you paid for your stuff and the cashier said, ”Have a nice day, sir!”

I guess those days are long gone.

And no… I will never ask you “Would you like to purchase a 10 year warranty on that casket?”  Or wait… Maybe that’s not such a bad…  NO!!!

Until next time!

‘USA’ Chants Inspire Me, but Soccer Doesn’t

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsFor the most part…I hate soccer.

I do not care to watch it on television. I never played soccer as a kid growing up. I know absolutely nothing about the game.

The only kind of soccer that I ever found to be even the least little bit interesting, was the MISL. That stands for Major Indoor Soccer League.

Growing up in Chicago, they had a professional indoor soccer team called the “Chicago Sting”. They played their games in an indoor arena. They mainly used hockey stadiums and placed indoor AstroTurf all over the ice and had a goal at each end of the floor.

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, loving the cubs

An indoor soccer match featuring the Chicago Sting.

I went to several indoor soccer games. Some of them were at the Chicago Stadium and some of them were played at the Rosemont Horizon.

What got me interested in indoor soccer was the fact I was dating this girl who liked the game and she had me take her to the matches.

I ended up breaking up with her…but I still went to the soccer games. I went by myself and actually had a much better time than I did when she went and I had to hear her nag all the way there and back.

Indoor soccer matches were exciting, because they used the walls to kick off of and it made for a much more “fast paced” game.

Outdoor soccer in a large arena sucks!

I am sorry…it just does!

They spend 90 minutes running up and down the field…kicking the ball around to each other and they hardly EVER score. Just when the ball reaches one end of the field and you think they might have a chance…BAM…the opposing team kicks it all the way down to the other end, and here we go again!

I would rather dig out an ingrown toenail than to have to watch an outdoor soccer match on television…or even live in person.

However…things were just a little bit different these past couple of weeks during the World Cup Soccer Match in Brazil.

This is the match that is played once every four years and it is basically the USA against the world.

Most all the countries in the world are represented in the World Cup.

I guess that is why it is called the “World” Cup.

“TEAM USA” was able to advance to the “Final 16” grouping and they played Belgium this past Tuesday.

We had a funeral at Grissom Funeral Home yesterday at 3 p.m. I did not make it home in time to watch the entire game. However, I was able to watch the last 45 minutes of the match and then the overtime 30-minute play.

“TEAM USA” was tied 0-0 with Belgium when I started watching. So I did not feel like I had missed anything.

Actually…I NEVER feel like I missed anything when I do not watch a soccer game.

But THIS GAME was completely different than all the rest.

This was the day that “OUR TEAM”, the team representing the greatest Nation in the entire world; the USA was playing to go on to the final 8 grouping.

I noticed something during the remainder of the game that I was able to watch.

I noticed that I did not have a care in the world for those final 75 minutes or so. I did not care about work. I did not care about bills. I did not care about politics. I did not care about what was going on in Washington D.C. between the POTUS and the SCOTUS and the Congress. I just flat out DID NOT CARE!

The only thing I cared about during the last half of the United States vs. Belgium World Cup Soccer Match was that I was darn proud to be a citizen of this great country!

I could hear the chants in the stands….USA…USA….USA!!!

I almost wanted to get up off my couch and shout it with them!

I know nothing about World Cup Soccer. I do not know anyone on the team for the United States. I do not know the name of the coach for “America’s Team”.

Even if I did know his name…there is a 98% chance I could never pronounce it.

But what I DO KNOW… is that amidst all the turmoil in Washington. Amidst all the fighting and wars going on in the Middle East. Amidst the problems and cares of our everyday lives…for about 75 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, July 1, 2014…everything inside of my body and my spirit was shouting…USA….USA….USA!!!!

Let us never forget…that we are citizens of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave and God Bless America…My HOME SWEET HOME!

So the game did not turn out like we all had hoped. But we are still number one in my book!

GO TEAM USA!!

A Big Thank You to Allan Jones

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsIt was almost seven years ago.

I was working at Grissom Funeral Home. I cannot remember if I was busy with a funeral or visitation. I cannot remember the exact time of the day. I just know I was at work.

My cell phone rang. I answered. The voice on the other end was one of which I was familiar, but had never personally talked to him before.

Allan Jones gave Mark an opportunity to get behind the mic at WOOP-FM.

Allan Jones gave Mark an opportunity to get behind the mic at WOOP-FM.

“Mr. Grissom…(the gentleman on the other end said in a deep, stern voice)…this is Mr. Jones. I would like for you to come and be the morning host on my radio station…WOOP FM”.

It took me about 5 seconds to put some words together where I could form a somewhat “proper” sentence and give this man an answer.

I knew from the very second he said “Mr. Jones” that I was speaking with the one and only Mr. Allan Jones.

I did not grow up in Cleveland. Those of you that have read any of my blogs have figured out by now that I am a “damn Yankee”.

That is correct. I said “damn”.

A “damn Yankee” comes down to the south from the north and stays. A plain “Yankee” comes down and eventually goes back home. You probably knew that already.

It took me several years of living in Cleveland and owning my own business before I actually even knew who Allan Jones was. Back in those years, he was the owner of the Credit Bureau in Cleveland. One of his main employees, Sarah Scoggins’, mother worked for me at Grissom Funeral Home… Mrs. Jo Stuart.

I had heard many stories about Mr. Jones. All good I must say. But never had the opportunity to meet him.

I remember seeing him at horse shows at Tri-State Exhibition Center back when his lovely daughter showed her prize horses and won most every class.

But my friendship with this great man started the day my cell phone rang and I heard….”Mr. Grissom…this is Mr. Jones.”

WOW!!.The one and only Allan Jones actually had my cell phone number. He not only HAD my number… he was actually CALLING my number!

He needed a disc jockey for the morning drive time on WOOP Radio, 99.9 FM on the local Cleveland dial, and all over the world on www.woopfm.com. He had heard me some years before that with Steve Hartline on WCLE and I guess I made him chuckle a time or two.

It is all volunteer. Nobody who has a part at WOOP Radio is paid. It is a non-for profit radio station. (I just wanted you all to know that so you realize I still depend on my job at Grissom Funeral Home.)

Over the past 7 years, I have not only come to know Allan Jones as a community leader, an incredible businessman, a loving husband and devoted father to his children. I have not only come to know him as a very giving individual and one of the sharpest minds I know.

But I have come to know Mr. Jones as my personal friend.

Most folks in Cleveland, Tennessee know him as the owner of Check-Into-Cash or the CEO of Jones Management or, most recently, the owner of one of Cleveland’s finest and oldest local industries… Hardwick Clothes.

What most folks in Cleveland do NOT know about Allan is what a giving person he is to our community.

The wrestling center at Cleveland High School, the aquatic center at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the many hundreds of thousands of dollars he has donated to education on the local and state level in Tennessee, the hundreds of citizens in our community who are gainfully employed because of the business opportunities Mr. Jones has provided. These are just a small amount of what all he has done.

I know first-hand how giving he is. There have been several times I have called upon him to be a sponsor of an event and he has never once said no. “In The Line of Duty Ride” for a motorcycle club to assist the family of a fallen police officer. My Alzheimer’s Marathon on the radio last year when he agreed to be our premier sponsor to help raise money to find a cure for the horrible disease that took my mom’s life and the lives of so many others… just to name a couple.

He does not like attention. I know this for a fact. He has told me himself he does not want publicity. He has done so much for so many… and chooses to remain behind the scenes and do things anonymously. (As a matter of fact…he may want to kill me for writing this blog about him!) I doubt it. He will have to forgive me just this once.

Mr. Jones, on behalf of this great community we call Cleveland and Bradley County, I say a great big “THANK YOU!”

Mr. Jones, on behalf of the thousands of students that can attend college that would not be financially able to, and receive a higher education if it were not for your generosity, I say a great big “THANK YOU!”

Mr. Jones, on behalf of all of the charities and civic organizations that have been able to do so much good with the funds that you have afforded them in our community, I say a great big “THANK YOU!”

And last, but by no means least,  Allan…for taking the time out of your incredibly busy schedule to pick up your phone one day and call me and say “Mr. Grissom…this is Mr. Jones”…I say a great big…”THANK YOU…my friend!”

Why I Became a Methodist

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsSo I have this routine whenever I write my blog. I usually wait until Tuesday evening. I go over to the Keurig coffee machine and make me a cup of decaf coffee in one of my many Chicago Cubs mugs. Then I sit down at the computer and start typing.

Coffee is made. Tastes pretty good. Mug looks great. Time for the blog!

This past Sunday was Father’s Day. I was very honored to have my dad and his wife in church with me at First United Methodist in Cleveland, Tenn.

They have visited with me before. My dad has come on several occasions. But there is nothing like having your dad sitting with you in the Lord’s house on Father’s Day.

After church, I took them to a very nice local restaurant to eat lunch. We all three had the rib-eye and Shrimp Father’s Day special. The food was incredible. The time we had together was even more special.

I love you dad! Happy Father’s Day…Every day of the year!

That brings up the subject of the blog.

Not long after we had ordered our food and my dad asked the blessing over the meal, Judy asked me a question.

It was not the kind of question that you just give a simple yes or no. It was not the kind of question that you can answer with one or two sentences.

This was a question that would take a little while to answer and explain…and I was excited to do so!

Judy’s question was this. “How was it that you chose to start going to the Methodist Church when you left the Church of God?”

The latter part of her question refers to almost four years ago when I made the decision to leave the Church of God for very personal reasons and look for another church to attend.

Let me make this very clear. I say the following without any hesitation or reservation. I LOVE the Church of God. I very much love the church that my father raised me in.

My father was a Church of God minister. He is retired now. He was my pastor all of my life growing up. I love the heritage that he raised me in, and I would not take anything for my Christian upbringing that he and mom afforded to me.

I grew up in a church that sang the hymns out of the church hymnal on Sunday mornings. I LOVE those old hymns. They have such incredible meaning. The hymns that were written by Charles Wesley, Fannie Crosby and many others who devoted their life to the ministry of music and church hymns.

I love hearing a message about God’s grace and God’s love toward us. I love hearing messages about the word of God and the incredible stories from the Bible. I love being challenged each and every Sunday to live a better life for Christ that I did the previous week. That is where the Holy Spirit comes in and a continual sanctification going on in our lives.

Enough of my theology. Let’s just say I had my own personal reasons to find a church where I felt comfortable — church like my father raised me in. To be ministered to like my father use to minister to me Sunday after Sunday.

I told Judy that the title “Methodist” was not why I started going to my church almost four years ago.

I did not care if the name of the church was First Church of the Folks that Love Jesus! It was not that the title was Methodist or Episcopal or Baptist or Lutheran or Catholic.

The title on the sign meant nothing to me.

What meant EVERYTHING to me was the incredible love that had been shown to me for over 20 years in that church.

Over those years, I have had many funeral services at First United Methodist Church. I have gotten to know many of the families in that church. They are some of the most loving and caring people that you could ever meet.

I had said for many years that if I ever left the church I had been going to, I would go to First United Methodist in a heartbeat!

So…four years ago I chose to start attending First Methodist.

From my very first Sunday there, I have felt like I was at “home”. I love the songs we sing. I love the sermons that are preached. (We have a Pastor that is pretty cool). But most of all I love the people in that church.

It does not matter who you are. It does not matter how much money you have or do not have. It does not matter what you have done in your past, good or bad. It only matters that they show you Christ’s love and they truly care about you.

I am a very strong advocate for church. And Lord knows we have plenty of them in Cleveland, Tennessee.

If you are looking for a church. If you are looking for a place to be loved and cared for. If you are looking for a place that sings the old hymns each Sunday and the pastor brings an incredible message of God’s love and God’s grace and the fact there is hope for all of us. If you are looking for all of those things…I invite you to come to First United Methodist!

When Pastor Tim greets you after church…tell him you heard about his church in Mark’s Blog!

Until next week!

Special note:  I know the blog had a little different message this week. Just wanted to share with everyone my love for my church and my love for God’s church.

Yep, I Remember “Popsie” Grissom

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsThis Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day. It is one day set aside during the year, always on a Sunday, to honor and show much due appreciation to an incredible person…called our dad.

I have already shared with you many, many great stories about my dad in past blogs. I have told you a lot of great things about him and how much I love him and how much he means to me.

I could write from now until the Lord comes…and NEVER say enough great things about my dad. I have said very often, and will continue to say, my dad is a Saint!

However, I want to take this opportunity to share with you about another great dad and how much he meant to me.

Me, my dad Tom Grissom, and my grandpa Ira "Popsie" Grissom.

Me, my dad Tom Grissom, and my grandpa Ira “Popsie” Grissom.

I want to tell you a little bit about my dad’s dad…my “Popsie” Grissom.

My grandfather, Ira Grissom, and my grandmother, Edna Mae “Meemomie” Grissom had 7 children. They actually had 10 children, but three died at child birth.

My grandfather was a cotton farmer for most of his life. I have heard my dad tell many stories about “Popsie” and the farm and picking cotton and going to the cotton gin and being a great husband and an incredible father. And beyond any doubt whatsoever…the FINEST Christian gentleman you could ever meet.

The following are just a few stories that I can remember about my grandpa.

When I was a small boy, I can very plainly remember us going to visit my grandparents in Red Bay, Alabama, at least once a year — usually in the summer time when my brother and I were both out of school.

Back then it seemed like a very long trip from Chicago, Illinois to Red Bay, Alabama. It really was not all that long. But when you are stuck in the back seat of a car with a “big brother” that wants to hog your side of the seat…it is a VERY LONG trip! (Sorry, K.K., but you know I love you).

My grandparents lived in a very modest home in Red Bay. Nothing fancy. They did not have a lot of money.  They did not drive fancy cars. As a matter of fact, my grandpa drove a pickup truck. Manual shift truck, at that!

"Popsie" Grissom, suspenders and all.

“Popsie” Grissom, suspenders and all.

Whenever my grandfather would go anywhere, my grandmother would ride with him in the truck.

She did not ride in the passenger’s seat. She rode right next to him. Right by his side…in the middle of the seat. Just like two kids in high school that were dating.

Yep…I remember!

When we would arrive in Red Bay, the first thing I wanted to do was go out in the woods behind my grandpa’s house and shoot my BB gun.

You see, growing up in Chicago you never even thought about shooting any type of gun in your yard. It was a huge NO-NO!

To the best of my memory, my grandpa had a BB gun he let me shoot. He would set up targets for me and I would blast them away just like I was John Wayne himself! I also had a sling shot that he made for me one year. I loved to put small ball bearings that he gave me in that sling shot and knock the metal cans off the rail. I am 50 years old…and I still have that sling shot.

Popsie also had a 20 gauge shotgun and a 12 gauge shotgun.

There were rare occasions that he would load up my dad and myself in his truck and take us way out in the country and let me shoot that 20 gauge shotgun.

I thought I had died and gone to Heaven!

I vaguely remember shooting the 12 gauge shotgun one time. Pretty near blew my right shoulder off!

That was the last time I did that!

YEP! I remember!

Popsie had a “dipper” in the kitchen hanging right above the kitchen sink. Most of you know what a dipper is. But for the few that might not, it was a small bowl made of stainless steel that had a very long handle. It was a community dipper. It did not matter if you were a son, daughter, grandchild, neighbor, friend or the local preacher in town. When you wanted a drink of water at Popsie’s house…you used the dipper above the sink.

Water NEVER tasted as good as it did from that dipper.

YEP! I remember!

Every night, before we went to bed, Popsie led us all in a family prayer. We all gathered in the living room. Everyone found a place in front of a chair or a couch, kneeled down…and Popsie would pray Heaven down.

Please understand. This was not a “now I lay me down to sleep prayer”. This was a “we are going to stay on our knees and pray until Heaven comes down and glory fills our soul” kind of prayer. Many of the adults crying…(almost like I am about to do right now just thinking about those times).

Those prayers were incredible.

Yep! I remember!

In 1987, my Popsie prayed his last prayer on this earth…and his next prayer was in Heaven with my grandmother “Meemomie”, his children that had gone on before him…and a host of family and friends.

I think about him a lot. I think about one day, when my life has ended and I get to Heaven, a stately gentleman, wearing a Stetson hat and a pair of suspenders to hold his pants up coming up to me and saying…”Hello there Marky…I am Popsie.

And I look up in his beautiful eyes, give him a huge hug and say…….”Yep! I remember!”

Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, Popsie!

Happy Father’s Day here on earth, Dad! I love you so very, very much!! Thank you for the greatest Christian heritage anyone could ever ask for!

An Unlikely Place to ‘Bond in the Cub Faith’

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsYou have to say one thing about “true, die-hard” Cub fans. We are some of the most loyal fans in the whole world.

There is a bond between Cub fans that cannot ever be broken.

Now…I am not talking about “fair weather” fans who show up at Wrigley Field on occasion. The kind that when the Cubs start winning they get on the “bandwagon” and start shouting them on.

I am not talking about the kind who say they are for the Cubs and the Sox. That is B.S.! (My apologies to the editor of my blog…but I had to use those initials!)

You CANNOT be a Cubs fan and a Sox fan! You either love the Cubs and hate the Sox…or vice versa.  And if you do love the Sox…then please stop reading my blog and unfriend me on Facebook as well! Thank you!

I am not talking about those kinds of fans. Only real Cub fans that have stuck with them in good times and bad.

And there have been a whole heck of bad!

I was working at the funeral home today. Grissom Funeral Home in Cleveland, Tennessee, that is. I meant a really nice lady and her daughter. They came in to talk about a funeral and I noticed an accent that was not from East Tennessee.

I asked where they were from and they told me Maine.

Well, that did not mean much to me. I have no friends from Maine. I think all “Mainers” are just a little bit weird, myself.

But when I told them I was from Chicago, the next thing that happened was glorious!

The lady’s daughter smiled and told me her husband was from Chicago.

My next question…”Is he a Cubs fan or Sox fan?”

She smiled even bigger this time and responded…”CUBS!”

Who's that next to Mark Grissom? Oh, yeah, Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts

Who’s that next to Mark Grissom? Oh, yeah, Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts.

I clinched my fist in the air as if to say “Victory and Praise the Lord” all at the same time!

We began a dialogue of “Cub Talk”. If you are not a Cubs fan, you would not understand such a discussion.

Her husband was just a couple years younger than I am. I started naming players that were with the Cubs when I was just a kid. She knew every one of them.

I named the announcer for the Cubs on WGN Radio and WGN Television when I was a kid. She knew them also.

It was official…we had “Bonded in the Cub Faith”!

She proceeded to tell me that her husband even had a Cubs Mascot tattoo on his left arm.

By this time, I actually felt goose bumps up and down my spine and I knew God in Heaven sent this lady my way today to bring some joy into my life!

I apologize, right here, to all my friends who are Atlanta Braves fans. But to be very honest with you…I really get sick of hearing about the Braves all the time.

I know…I know! I live in “Braves Country” and I need to suck it up. However, to get the opportunity to meet and talk to fellow Cub fans is an experience I cherish!

I have thought about these great people all day. We exchanged phone numbers and I texted her a couple pictures that I had from Wrigley. One of which is myself with the owner of the Cubs, Tom Ricketts.

That was made two years ago at Wrigley Field. I printed it out, mailed it to his office in Chicago, he autographed it for me and mailed it back. It is hanging in my bedroom.

My Bible, my United Methodist Hymnal and my picture of Cubs owner, Tom Ricketts, and myself will remain with me until I leave this world.

I may be 90 years old one day and possibly residing at Signature Healthcare Center in Cleveland. For those who enter my room to visit me, as few as they may be, those three items will be by my bedside.

Now to go look into getting my Cubs mascot tattoo on my arm. “Bucket list!”

God Bless all the Cub fans!!

Until next time….

CraftBeerClub.com-The Finest Craft Beers from America’s Best Micro Breweries- 728x90 banner