Grandpa building priceless memories for granddaughter in his backyard

DECATUR, Texas -- A lot of grandparents complain that they don't see their grandkids enough, but Jimmy White of Decatur, Texas, doesn't have that problem.

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Jimmy White

CBS News

For one, his granddaughter lives right next door, but more importantly, he has created the ultimate grandchild enticement.

He thought of it the day he found out his daughter was pregnant with Sophia. Right then, he decided what grandpa he wanted to be.

"Anytime she wants something I'm going to try to give it to her," Jimmy said.

A spoiling kind of grandpa.

"That's what grandkids are for, you spoil them! And as soon as I found out I was going to be a grandpa, that's when I started," he said.

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Jimmy in his workshop

CBS News

Jimmy is a jack-of-all-trades. He can build pretty much anything. So not long after that first ultrasound, he began constructing Six Flags over Sophia.

Today, Sophia's own, personal roller coaster runs circles around her own, personal carnival swing and her own, personal Ferris wheel.

Everything is built from scrap parts, but Jimmy says it's all safe and sturdy enough for an adult to ride, even the roller coaster, which is grandpa-powered, gravity-fed and very much Sophia-approved.

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Jimmy helps Sophia get her roller coaster going

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Jimmy says Sophia comes to his house nearly every day. So his plan is working.

As Sophia gets older, Jimmy plans to add more attractions -- go-karts will be next -- all in an attempt to recreate the bond Jimmy says he had with his own grandfather.

"That's what I'm trying to do with my granddaughter. Because after I pass away, or gone, I want her to look back on all the times, the good times, that we had," he said.

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Sophia enjoying her carnival swing

CBS News

Of course, no matter how many rides he fabricates, eventually Sophia will outgrow this place.

And when she keeps coming back anyway, maybe then Jimmy will realize the real draw here was never this amusement park; it was the loving grandpa who cared enough to build it.

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  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.