On occasion, some of us are lucky enough to meet people who really are legends in their own time. Personally.
My Granny was one such person although she like to keep a low profile and not really talk about her accomplishments. She was a doctor and when she was in the hospital didn't like it when the staff called her Dr. Edwards. I don't think she like the embarrassment that ensued when a member of the medical staff treated her like an old lady and someone came in and asked, "How are you doing Dr. Edwards?" She was just lowkey like that.
So, on that note.... have you ever seen Big Fish?
If you haven't, go watch it really quick, and then come back.
I had the pleasure of meeting my husband's dad's father in 2007. And upon first meeting all I could think was that someone met Ken Bailey and made the movie Big Fish based on Ken. Kind of like how the movie Rainman was based off of the real life human being Kim Peek, who lived in Murray with his father until his death and I also had the pleasure of meeting.
Oh!! The stories that man would tell. He told stories exactly the way Albert Finney does in this movie.
And they were almost as unbelievable.
He lived a very amazing, adventure filled, no holds barred kind of life. I hope to recount more of his stories in later posts, I don't remember very many of them as I hadn't had a chance to listen to them for many years. But I will say, he bought his first car when he was 13 and used to break horses for $25 a piece as a young teenager.
Did I mention that he was always thirsty? Seriously. Right out of the movie. And he and his wife Jolene...well, as far as I can tell, it's still right out of the movie. I don't know the circumstances of their courtship, but I bet it's a great story.
In the week of November 7-13th, he was at an elderly care facility and was told that he had pneumonia and that they'd like to start antibiotics. He specifically expressed his desire that they NOT put him on medications. I can imagine that at a certain point in your life, you are pretty done and that further efforts to prolong your life is kind of pointless. He said once that if he'd known how painful it was to be old, he'd have passed long before now.
Sunday the 14th, we all went to be with Grandpa Bailey. His room was filled with family and he was definitely having a hard time. He couldn't speak and his breathing was "labored". The nurses told the family that his vitals were fine, but I've seen people who are at the end and he was there.
He is a devout LDS and there was a search of oil to give him a blessing. His grandson, Jordan I believe, delivered the blessing and Kirk did as well. It was very eloquent and had everyone in tears (yeah, Kirk manages to get everyone in tears a lot, it's a talent I think). I don't really know the ins and outs of it, but that's what I think transpired at this point.
And it was a very calming thing for Ken. You could tell that it relaxed him greatly.
There are many other things I could tell of this evening, but I won't. It is a little personal. It was very beautiful. And he transitioned from this mortal world into the spiritual world the 15th.
I am very excited to get to record more of his stories so that not only my children can get a glimpse of their Great-Grandpa Bailey, but so that others know what a great and sometimes terrible man he was. To get a chance to see the stock that my husband is from and to know that my kids and their dad come by their silly, crazy, adventurous, curious nature very honestly.
I would like to add my disclaimer that when I say terrible... I really mean it. From what I understand, his dad was a very mean man and while Ken managed to better himself and his life, there will always be that little bit of terrible that sneaks in and, quite frankly, in some cases, it isn't too bad a thing. I want my children to know that even though he was a VERY great man, he was just a man. So, so good to his friends and family, but I think people learned not to cross him. And he had his curmudgeon moments with his loved ones as well. It gave him color and depth. He was a legend in his own time to his friends and family and as a good friend put it "It's probably tough being a legend." So, please don't think I'm disrespecting him in any way by saying the above.
We love you Grandpa Bailey, you will be sorely missed, and don't raise too much trouble where you are. ;)