Thomas Alexander Houston was an incredible man. He loved his beautiful red-headed wife, Nancy. He loved his family. He loved golf.
He was strong - very strong. I remember him having these big, thick sailor arms. He always looked to me like he could lift a car with one hand if he really wanted to. I will always remember him with those big, strong arms. They were extra handy for giving hugs.
Pop Tom raised one of my best friends, Rusti. He was a great (grand)father. When I would go spend the night at their house, we would get up early on Sunday mornings to get breakfast with him at Tate's in tiny, sleepy Manchester, Georgia. Then we would head off to church with him. I remember that they had free donuts. We always looked forward to the donuts.
Pop Tom introduced me to the heavenly glory of buckwheat pancakes. On Saturday mornings, he would make us buckwheat pancakes with bacon. There was no skimping on breakfast when Pop Tom was cooking.
When I wrecked my dad's car on my 16th birthday (long story), he handled the entire situation so gracefully. One would expect him to yell at us or at least "give us a good talkin' to", but he was forgiving and gracious and loving even after one of the biggest screw-ups of my life.
Pop Tom and Gamma even came to my college graduation. They drove all the way up to Atlanta to celebrate with me and cheer me on. It meant so much to me that they would drive that far to support me. It's hard to believe that that was the last time that I saw them in person.
Pop Tom was a patriot. He served in the Army during WWII and the Korean War and was awarded a Purple Heart. I will always remember his heart.
We will miss you, Pop Tom. I can't wait to see you again someday.