It’s been twelve years since we lost Grandpa. It hardly seems possible that it has been so long. I think of him every day and miss him every minute. He was a big part of my life while I was growing up, though I saw him only once a year. A very quiet, strong, loving man with a crooked smile and a rare bark of a laugh. He loved all of his girls so much. Wife, daughters, granddaughters. He was always surrounded by females that he could not understand at all, but adored with every bit of his heart and soul.
Grandpa was a good man. He was not perfect. He had many faults. When he was a young man he drank a lot and it caused him and his little family quite a bit of trouble. He gambled. He bet away money that was sorely needed on more than one occasion. And he fought, while in the Army, he fought with his superiors enough to be busted back whenever he got promoted. But Grandpa worked hard. He quit drinking, smoking, and gambling. He supported a wife and children, ran his own business, and loved in a quiet and profound way that none could ever match. Like I said, a good man, built on a platform of American spirit, love of family, endlessly improving character and more strength than any other ten people I know could ever possess.
On the day of his funeral, it was standing room only as the service started. A silent testimony to that amazing character and the impact he made on the people around him. I know people spoke but I remember very little about that service. I do remember two things clearly. I remember holding my Daddy’s hand, thinking how much pain my Moms and Aunt Carla must feel to have lost their own Daddy. And I remember my Uncle Derol grabbing my other hand, wiping away his tears, and telling me how much my Grandpa loved me. That he was proud of me. And that I often showed a lot of Grandpa’s same spark in my own actions. To this day, few words have meant as much to me.
My Grandpa was a good man. He was a brother, a soldier, a husband, a father and a friend to so many. I am lucky to carry him with me in my heart, and to see him staring back at me everyday in my own crooked smile.
I miss you Grandpa. I am thankful everyday to have been loved by you.