I know this has been the all-Grandpa-all-the-time blog for a while, but I just have one more thing. My brother and I wrote this for the funeral. To me it shows just why we loved him so much.
10 Things Grandpa Taught Us
- If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Whether you’re growing a garden, baiting a hook, telling a joke, or convincing a new family member of your ability to smell aces…if you want it to succeed, you need to see it all the way through to the end.
- Learn to take a joke. Grandpa always managed to “go see a man about a horse” whenever the Bluebell ice cream truck came around. So, the one time we actually cornered him and convinced him to buy us some ice cream lives in infamy. Grandpa let us have our victory, and we told that story to tatters. He was a good sport every time.
- Ask the right questions. First it’s “got any money?” and THEN “wanna play some cards?
- Concentrate on the things that make you happy. Don’t waste too much time on the shuffling and dealing. Get through the boring parts quickly and move on to the good stuff of life. Don’t spend a beautiful day inside when you could be out on the lake fishing.
- Be silly. Your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will love it when you shout “Pea-corn, pop-nuts, chewing Jack, and Cracker gum!” at the ball game or insist that your favorite color is “sky-blue pink,” even if you’ve said it a million times before.
- Forgiveness is divine. Even if, hypothetically, someone-who-shall-remain-nameless completely accidentally drops your lucky ice fishing pole into the lake, don’t make them go in after it. As much as Grandpa loved his games, his jokes, and his days on the lake, he loved his family more. He celebrated every big event in our lives with us, and even though he teased about the little mistakes, he didn’t hold grudges.
- Find the value in everything: big and small. Save your aluminum cans, its often the things that seem insignificant one at a time that add up to something great over a lifetime. Grandpa taught us to appreciate the value in everything from building a simple coin collection to building a loving family 4 generations strong.
- Pay attention, and remember the details. Grandpa captivated us with so many stories about his life – serving in World War II, working on the railroad, family trips, catching sunnies and crappies at Fish Trap Lake… He could tell a story from 60 years ago like it just happened yesterday. Adding these stories up over the years has provided us with an example of a strong, steady man of integrity whom we strive to imitate.
- Don’t just play the hand you’re dealt – make the most of it. One of our family’s favorite card games is 500. No matter what cards Grandpa picked up, he’d exclaim “Holy Mackerel Mabel!” They were always the best cards he’d ever seen. And even if any other player in the world would’ve lost with the exact same cards, Grandpa would almost always turn them into a winning hand.
- Carve your initials on the bottom. Maybe you don’t need to shout your accomplishments from the hilltops, but let the world know you were here, and that you made something beautiful.
Grandpa, we love you and we miss you. So, until we meet again: “here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?”