Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Our Grandpa


I wrote this the day after my grandpa passed away last year.  I wanted to read it at his funeral but to be honest; I don’t think I would have been able to deliver it all the way through.  It’s not a long story but the details impact my life every day. I have been very blessed to have such a great and caring family and I feel my Grandpa helped spearhead this caring quality. 

My Grandpa was born on February 12th, 1927 and died January 7th, 2013 in his house in Oakland Tacoma, Washington. This area of Tacoma has changed a lot since my Grandpa’s adolescent years. Many things look different now. As a child and later as an adult I asked my grandparents a lot of questions about their history. I remember when I was around 8 years old I talked to my Grandpa about what Tacoma looked like when he was a kid. He painted a picture of forests with many trees, deer, and many things that I could no longer see in the city now completely filled with concrete. He talked of stories, in which he and his friends would play in the hills of Oakland and how they turned their world into the Old Wild West when they played Cowboys and Indians. 

He also talked about areas of what is nowadays a city where he and some childhood friends caught frogs, captured bugs and got into little trouble. As I became an adult, he elaborated on his stories and let me hear of more details about the trouble, he managed to get himself into. As he grew older his rowdy behaviour wasn’t only confined to the local Tacoma area. On one occasion, He made his way all the way to the Bald Hills near an unfamiliar town called “Yelm”. He also talked about far off places like San Francisco, California and the faraway lands of the Philippines. I was always surprised to hear some of the stories my grandpa told me. For the first time in my life, I realized my Grandpa was a human in the full sense of the word. I spent the greater part of my youth with this crazy misconception thinking my Grandpa never sinned or even had the ability to sin. After returning home from WWII, my grandpa was invited to church, and it was there in his early twenties that he asked the Lord Jesus Christ to enter his heart. Although his life took its turns after receiving the Lord, he emulated how a Husband/Father/Grandfather/Friend should act. He could have never done this on his own. John 5:30 says: “I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will”. My Grandfather was able to accomplish this by being faithful to the Lord and attending church to account for and to grow with the help of the scriptures in order to fulfil God’s will.
Two things I admired most about my Grandpa were how he treated all of his grandchildren. He somehow had the ability to make each of us feel special. The other was his generosity: I can’t recall any of his children or grandchildren that didn’t spend at least a week or even a whole year living in his house for one reason, or another. John 14:2 “In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you”.
Well Grandpa, you were a faithful son and are now enjoying our heavenly father’s house in a new body without pain and serving the Lord for eternity. Although we miss you, we know we’ll be together very soon.

The following things remind me of my grandparents and I know many members of our family share the same memories:

Snow white hair              
Norwegian wool sweaters
Black buffed shoes
Cuffed rolled shirts
Old black TV remote with rubber bands
Old spice canister on a war-room shelf
Multiplying nutcrackers rising up a flight of stairs
Corgi dogs with short-man syndrome (Thore + Rosie)
Dog bones in car trunk
Peppermint Altoids
Junior mints
Shrinking Mailbox
Coo Coo Clocks
Peanut bridle “Not quite right”
Fudge “Not quite right”
Fruit cake
Berry butter nuts
Buffalo cow patties aka (Grandpas Salisbury Steak)
Butter milk in a glass, a small glass for me
Christmas music in May
Leif Erikson Day
Leisure time resort
“Chinese made garbage”
Coffee or milk with old fashion donuts
Fred Meyer croissants
Basement workout gym
TBS bench seat cushions
Work days with Grandpa
Ab roller wheel
Black coal for fireplace
Basement cupboards filled with Board Games
Personal Snake Lake tour guide, Superman Tree.
Arm muscle made by blowing into a thumb
Survivalist spirit with a nettle throbbing tong
Green Cowboy boots
Empty egg cartons
Tickle back after big family dinner with egg cracks on our head
Cotton balls filled with fragrant oil.
Little army of trolls
Cinnamon rolls
and so much more...

Thank you, Grandpa and Grandma, for always being there and for all the memories we shared. I am looking forward to passing your traditions down to our children and pray that we can use some of your examples with prayer to keep our family relationships strong.