Samuel Wade Austin was born on this day in Titus County Texas in 1901. He lived his entire life of 84 years within blocks of where he had been born. He graduated from Mount Pleasant High School with very good grades. He could have continued a career in baseball had he not lost the index finger of his right hand in a power saw in his father’s carpenter’s shop. He was in line for a full baseball scholarship at the University of Texas, but married my mother in order to provide a home for her siblings. Her father, upon the death of my grandmother, decided to move to Dallas and leave three very young children in her care. It all worked out since the accident took away his ability to control a ball. Sam and Mattie Austin had been married nearly two years when she gave birth to a very large baby boy who died soon after birth. Sam began building houses with his father and soon was in business for himself. Austin and Austin built very fine homes, some of which are still occupied and bear a Texas Historical Notification. Well respected and loved by all who knew him, Sam Austin died, the victim of Alzheimer’s at the age of 84. He was a very good man who loved his GOD, his family and his country. He was a Democrat and would be greatly disappointed in his party today. The people who remain and who loved him as I do, wrote these memories of my Dad:
My Papaw was the epitome of a godly man and a source of love for his family. When I met Papaw, I finally knew what a father’s love was really like. I remember he smelled so sweet, and now I know it was his tuhbacki!(Days Work chewing tobacco); his nicknames for all of us like, “Sugarfoot”, “Miss Pretty”, “Madam Queen” and “SuzyQ”. His love of Max Brand, Zane Grey and Louis L’amour paper back westerns. His honor and respect for his father, step-mother, half-brothers, family and in-laws. His tattered bible that was the basis of the preacher’s sermon at his funeral. Each visit included trips to the “Queen” and Hayden’s store down the street: Wax Coke bottle candy, wax lips and fake cigarettes are among my memories. I would sit in his chair, that faced their bed, overlooking the backyard and would try to fit my bottom in the impressions he’d left. He loved to talk to “Bird”, a parakeet that was caged by his radio and chair.(he swore the bird talked back, but no one else ever heard it) He listened to WBAP and it was always on a football or baseball game. He made the best breakfast. Ever. I tried making his chocolate chip cake, and I may have come close, but nothing will ever compare to his. A carpenter during the work-week, a fisherman on Saturday, a cake maker on Saturday night, a pancake maker on Sunday morning and a man of God always.
His prayer of grace before meals always began the same, “Gracious Lord, pardon our sins and make us thankful for these and all our blessings. Be with those who are sick and sad and in distress and be with those who are traveling and keep them safe.” (these the only words we can recall. We would love to have the rest and have it made into vinyl letters to place on the wall in our dining room.) I do recall one particular Sunday morning’s blessing that seemed to go on and on until my second daughter said, “AMEN, Papaw, AMEN”. He was careful to stick to the ‘script’ after that.
Sam Austin loved people and they reciprocated. My Daddy was a carpenter and I miss him, still, but I’ll see him, again, someday. That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN