Every time I walked into a room to see my Grandad, he gave me his full attention and said in a special, slow cadence… How DO you DO!?!  It could be said as an exclamation, a question, admonishment, or a surprise. Paul Arthur Ogle knew me better than anyone else in my world. Grandad understood and accepted me, no matter what. I never heard him speak an unkind word about anyone. He was kind and patient and spoke with a slow, measured voice, which he used as an elder in the Presbyterian church. I know there are many of you who are wondering how I could possibly be related to such a paragon….  His mother, my Great Grandmother Grace was a rebellious, strong-willed woman who defied convention, dressed in her brother’s clothes and raced the family mule (riding astride) down the town streets, and won the county fair horse race. They were disqualified as she was not a He and the mule wasn’t a horse. Apple… skip a generation…roll down the hill… tree.


One day at the ripe-old-age of 26, I drove to Oklahoma City to visit my grandparents. Grandad greeted me at the door with “How DO you DO?” I burst into tears and told him that I was so sorry I was going to disappoint him because my marriage had failed. He held me, told me he loved me and that God had a perfect plan for my life, I just needed to trust in Him and be patient. Granny made me my favorite soup and her famous oatmeal cookies. I was filled inside and out with love and affection.


Grandad’s health was not great, and he fought his way through diabetes, heart disease, and finally cancer but he always had a smile for his only granddaughter. I will never forget one particular weekend when I arrived and asked him “How DO you DO?” I asked as a rhetorical question because my entire life it was a given that he would answer with a cheerful, upbeat smile and some quip, even before or after major surgeries. His faith gave him a peace that was inextinguishable. This one time, Grandad looked at me with sad eyes and said… “not a fair question today.” He had decided to move to hospice care and had not yet told Granny, his wife and partner of half a century. I was heartbroken but had seen him fight illness after illness. We sat and prayed together and he prayed for all of us, especially his wife, not for himself.

I took a leave of absence, grabbed a bag of clothes and my dog, and moved in with my grandparents for the duration. Each day I sat on the hospital bed we set up in the living room and Grandad and I would sing his favorite hymns. At first, I was reluctant as I had mostly stopped singing after my divorce without even realizing it. It had been more than a year since I had touched my guitar. My reluctance did not have anything to do with the fact that Grandad “couldn’t carry a tune if he had a bag to put it in” (or so claimed Granny). My singing helped to distract him as I took care of medical and necessary functions that did not bother me, but Grandad was used to taking care of us, not being taken care of. As the days progressed, this transitioned into me singing to him and he hummed along until gradually he was unable to sing or even to hum. Granny would pipe in from the other room with song requests from time to time, and so, like an acoustic-human-jukebox, I just kept singing.

It was unspeakably difficult watching the man who had been my rock my entire life as he faded. One afternoon I was particularly bothered that Grandad was left staring up at an empty ceiling. I climbed up and stood on his hospital bed, grabbed a stuffed sunflower that had been sent to the ICU when flowers were not allowed, and used tacks to attach it to the ceiling where his eyes landed most of the time. I fumbled my balance and my aunt grabbed my leg to steady me, except it was not my aunt, it was Grandad. He hadn’t moved a muscle in days. He was smiling as I looked down…. shocked, I whispered… “How Do you DO?” I then climbed down and laid beside my Grandfather and said goodbye.

Granny made me sing (acapella) at the funeral and insisted, stridently, I should be one of the Pall Bearers along with my brother and cousins. “Her grandfather would say she could do anything the boys can do.” We 4 irreverently called ourselves the “Paul Bearers” knowing that Grandad would have chuckled at the joke and he would have appreciated how the distraction of shushing our inappropriate giggles would calm the family.

Now Grandad and Granny never got to meet either of my girls, as Granny died a year to the day of Grandad’s passing, but that sunflower was in the delivery room with me to welcome both my girls into the world; I have it with me still today. He also gave me the gift of music… once I started singing at home again, I never stopped… my daughters have had music as an integral part of our daily life. We had songs to wake them up, songs for brushing their teeth, washing their hands, and of course, lullabies to go to sleep.

Grandad passed away 21 years ago this week. Thinking about him brings a smile to my heart and tears to my eyes. I miss him so.


My husband Paul and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary.  His name is also Paul Arthur (what are the odds?) … he grew up singing Presbyterian hymns and he is a kind, loving man. He also brought music back into my life and bumped it up a whole new level. I think Granny and Grandad would call some of the Rock and Roll we do “carryin’ on”, but I know in my heart they are smiling. I am thankful every day for my Paul Arthur who loves me regardless of title, mistakes, new wrinkles, or a few extra pounds.  My son, Jarret, got married on our anniversary last week, I couldn’t help looking at my husband and realizing we will be grandparents together. He will make an amazing Grandad Paul Arthur. I will bake Granny’s famous oatmeal cookies.


When the hospitality industry crashed under the COVID 19 crisis, Paul’s father, Arthur, offered me his personal life savings to help keep the company going. Thankfully we didn’t have to take him up on that generous and incredible offer. What amazing men I have in my life, including my sons who are growing up to be a new generation of men who love and lead. I can hear my Grandad’s voice “How DO you DO?” with a big smile as he looks down at me now. I am thankful at the same time I am terrified. Our older generations are not disposable, and yes, old people die, but they have so much wisdom…. I needed it and would not be who I am today without my grandfather’s insights, guidance, and encouragement. I cannot imagine losing my grandfather (or now my parents) without being able to sing to them, or hold their hand, or kiss them goodbye. What a thing to take for granted. The not-so-subtle message this week… Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Call your loved ones and them you love them. Hug your family in your household. Appreciate the people you work with. Tell them why and how you appreciate them. Give a prayer of thanks for the blessings in your life. Sing or listen to a song that makes you smile… and every day ask yourself “How DO you DO?

If you listen to the playlist(below), you will hear some wonderful current artists singing the same Hymns I sang to my grandparents, but in a fun new way. If you know or knew one of my Paul Arthurs, please share a story in the comments below. If you enjoyed this week’s Unplugged, please subscribe.