Often met with getting older is experiencing death. It is not uncommon for friends of old to tell me that a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or parent has made their transition. I experienced this phenomenon quite often and wrote about losing my own Father. Although death has become a more frequent tale, it always takes me a back especially when it is a friend. This post is to honor my friend the way that I remember him.
My friend, Peter Grant, was a friend I met while attending Eastern Illinois University. He was born and raised in Central Illinois and was a son of a farmer. He was raised around corn and soy beans, big farm machines, and was really good with cars. I was only raised around corn I found at the grocery store, I knew the very basics about cars, and big combines scare the daylights out of me (that’s another story)! When we met, I wasn’t sure the farm boy and the city kid would be friends, but we were.
Pete and I pal’d around quite a bit. We were all part of a group of kids that gave their hearts to God and leaned on each other a lot to find answers. We often trudged around central Illinois to different services, revivals, and bible studies held by a family we all adopted namely because they would tell us truth and fed us since we were all poor, college students with a lack of nutritional sense! We laughed, cried, prayed, and would cling on to one another to draw strength to make it through another day, another exam, or another research paper!
I could always call on Pete as a friend or as a confidant. We would talk to each other sometimes for hours. I remember going to his family home once for Easter dinner. When we sat down at the table to eat, his Father told everyone at the table, “When Cynthia calls, Pete turns into a wet puppy!” Pete replied,”It’s true dad I do!” Although this is a little difficult to do as a black woman, but I turned beet red! All of us kids sat at the table first in awe that his dad actually said that and then burs-ted into laughter because his dad actually said that! Pete was just a sweet guy and he genuinely cared for me. When we would come back late from different events, I would make him drive my very temperamental car I owned at the time. It was a 1988 forest green gas guzzler that was always breaking down that I fittingly named “Diva”. Pete was on the only one that could get that New Yorker bucket of bolts to sometimes act right! When she died, transmission went boom and she was no more, I called him. He told me, “Diva fought a good fight and ran a good race.” No truer words were spoken.
Peter later on married his sweet heart Nina and they went on to have four children. He and I lost touch over the years but we later reconnected thanks to the wonderful world of social media. When we did, we just pick up where we left off! We talked about school, family, what we were into now, etc. He even “liked” a video of me singing at a service I posted on Facebook singing, “My Living Shall Not be in Vain”. His comment to follow was, “I ain’t heard me some good Cynthia singing in over 10 years!” Oh Pete! So sweet, yet sooooooo country! He loved to sing too. I remember him singing at the top of his lungs during worship services we attended together. The song I remember him singing with the most emphatic voice was “Shout to the Lord”.
Pete fought a good fight with cancer but his soul transitioned this past Thanksgiving. I am very sad my friend is gone but I am glad that we reconnected before he left this earth. He was a kind, gentle, loving soul. He was a lover of God, of his family, and friends. I wish that we had more time and I wished I had the chance to express to him in person how much he meant to me. I wish I could give you your flowers Pete. Even if I can’t give them to you personally, I will give them to your wife and children who love you very much. There is a new angel and his name is Peter Grant. He will still be around watching over all who he loved. He will missed but never forgotten.