When Tripp was a little boy, his favorite thing in the whole world was getting the phone call from his granddad asking, “Hey Tripper, wanna spend the night with me and go to the OU game tomorrow?” Tripp’s granddad, William (Tripp is actually the third William, which is where he got his nickname Tripp – short for triple), would come by to pick him up on his way home from the hospital, then the two of them would go out to dinner at anyone one of their favorite hangouts. The next morning, Tripp and his granddad would stop at McDonald’s for their customary Egg McMuffins and then meet up with the coach charter for the short trip to Norman.
Once they got to the stadium, Tripp and his granddad would stop to get stadium seatbacks and then make their way up to their seats. Along the way his granddad, a well respected physician at Bone and Joint Hospital in Oklahoma City, would stop to shake hands with his friends and colleagues. And Tripp always took great delight when his granddad made it a point to introduce him to everyone by saying, “This is my grandson, Tripp.”
This past Sunday, on our way home from Dad’s Day, Tripp was reminiscing about his granddad and sharing stories about him with me. I guess during one particular OU football game, Vice President Rockefeller happened to be at the game and the Daily Oklahomanhappened to be taking photos right where Tripp and his granddad used to sit. I dug around in one of Tripp’s old scrapbooks and found the article he had clipped out. The black arrow is Tripp and the gentleman to his left is his granddad.
Sitting in the stadium next to his beloved granddad is where Tripp’s lifelong love of the University of Oklahoma and the Sooner began. Tripp and I have had season tickets off and on for several years and have attended many OU games, but this year has been special. A few months ago, right before football season started, Tripp got a call from his cousin asking if he would like to use their granddad’s football tickets (William’s daughter, Polly, inherited them after he passed away.) Of course Tripp responded with an enthusiastic “You bet!” and for the past two months Tripp and I have been sitting side-by-side in the same seats where Tripp sat side-by-side with his beloved granddad.
I never met Tripp’s granddad, but by all accounts he was a wonderful, kind, and compassionate man. And sitting in those seats I have a sense of the special connection that he and Tripp shared. I’m sure that if he was still alive, William would be proud of Tripp’s accomplishments and success in business, but I think mostly William would be proud of the wonderful husband and father that Tripp is.
And I believe that if he could, William would say to his grandson, “Happy Birthday, Tripper. You’re a good man.”
Happy Birthday, Dear. I love you so very much! Kelly