The Extraordinary Man

May 20, 2008
By Joanna Martell, Smithtown, NY

The Extraordinary Man

He was not just another ordinary nice man; he was a caring, tolerant, patient, and an especially honest man. I would go so far as to say that he was extraordinary. This amazing man was my grandfather, Edwin E. Martell, but more informally known to others as Pop. To my cousins and me, he was known as Pop-Pop. Even just hearing his name makes you think “father”. Many people call their dad’s “Pop,” but what was unique about this Pop was that he was called that by everyone, not just his children. The reason for this was because that was what he was to everyone. He went through so many trials in his lifetime and had so many experiences, that he was always able to give fatherly insight and advice to anyone that came to him with a problem. The one thing he always made sure to do was to let you know that he would be praying for you. That is one thing I want you to understand about him. He always got through his situations, and would help you get through yours, by faith!
There are so many things my Pop-Pop taught me that I have lost count. But the main thing he always told me was, “You gotta have faith, my Joanna. You gotta have faith.” He told me so many times that faith was the key to getting through a situation successfully and with a good attitude. One night I spent the night at my grandparents’ house and I got up in the middle of the night. I went downstairs and found Pop-Pop sitting, with his back to me, in his rocking chair. I heard him talking. Curious, I stepped further into the room to listen to what sounded like a monologue. I suddenly realized that he was talking to God, or in other words, he was praying. I just stood there staring. He was praying specifically for his entire family and anyone that was on his mind at the time. Since that night a few years ago, I have gone through some trials of my own, one even being the death of my beloved Pop-Pop just three months ago. But through all of the trials, I have come to realize for myself that, “You just gotta have faith.”
Additionally, Pop-Pop taught me to be respectful of people, even if they didn’t treat me right. His life was a vivid example of this. My Pop-Pop was a butcher and he worked in a very large butcher shop on Main Street in Farmingdale. In that shop, there were some employees that were extremely angry on the inside. These people worked with Pop-Pop and they soon found out that he was battling cancer; not only prostate and colon cancer, but lung cancer as well, which he successfully battled over a decade ago. They also knew that the lung cancer recurred when he was 66. Aside from his faith, he also had hope. This hope made him different. He was always happy, cheerful, and giving. This confused the people at the butcher shop because they assumed Pop-Pop would be consumed with self-pity because of his serious health issues. They soon became envious, even resentful, that he still lived his life as though he were in picture-perfect health, despite the fact that he was infested with cancer. One particularly malicious man would even call him the “dead man walking” to his face. Although this deeply hurt Pop-Pop, he still went out of his way to be loving and kind to this man. He knew that this man had no love for him, but that didn’t matter to Pop-Pop. He still respected and tolerated him as a person, even though it was hard to do.
One last thing I would like to share about Pop-Pop is that he was the most patient man that I have ever known. I never saw him yell or lose his temper. When I was younger, probably around fifth grade, I would always drive his tractor around his two-acre property. Time and time again, Pop-Pop had to show me that I needed to turn the key to the “on” position for it to start. But he never got mad, impatient or even frustrated with me for having to repeat the instructions so many times. He would just sit there patiently and show me again. Another time, when I was around the same age, Pop-Pop wanted to show me how to use a combination lock because the following year I would be using one at Commack Middle School. He would show me, very patiently, repeatedly, how to turn the lock to the right and then to the left and finally back to the right. When I finally got it right, he gave me a pat on the back and a heartfelt, “Good for you, my Joanna! Good for you!” His patient and gentle ways made me want to learn life’s lessons from him.
Thank you, Pop-Pop, for all you have done for me. The lessons I have learned from you have made me all that I am! Watching the way you lived your life and all the struggles you endured were living examples of the wisdom you have passed on to me. I know it is true that the older you are, the wiser you are, but I think I have a head start because of all I have learned from you!

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This article has 3 comments.

on Aug. 31 2009 at 3:16 pm
aww that is such a beautiful story :)

on Aug. 31 2009 at 11:38 am
awesomeaugust GOLD, Boston, Massachusetts
10 articles 0 photos 176 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground"
~Theordore Roosevelt

That was really beautiful and nicely written! I'm sure your Pop-Pop would be very proud of you and is praying for you every day.

on Aug. 30 2009 at 5:18 pm
BannedGeekII SILVER, Commack, New York
8 articles 0 photos 17 comments
What a great piece of work. I truely loved it.

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