Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Precious Memories"

Today, for no particular reason I find myself missing my Grandad. Precious memories have flooded my heart today and I am warm. I find myself grinning and yet a momentary sadness overtakes me. I remember his tall, lanky build which in younger years walked in confidence, but always fast. He walked with the same haste and determination but with a touch of clumsiness in his older years, but he walked. I miss his smooth, olive skin which let you know of his heritage and his white flattop always trimmed just so. The smell of dirt, worms and crickets always flood me with sweet memories of the "bait man." Seeing gardens all neat in rows and initials carved in trees take me back to summer visits. Rusty chairs and box fans plugged into extension cords, hanging over trees, running through the yard and up the walk reminds me of hot summer days that beckoned you indoors, but the company kept encouraged you to stay under the shade tree. Chicken and dumplings complete with bones, pringles cans containing anything but pringles and cherry vanilla ice cream were always a treat at Grandad's table. The mountains of papers on the big gold sofa and the one he wanted to show being on the bottom of the stack, but he saved it to share when the roads would lead us home. Two televisions side by side with two different programs playing simultaneously just so we didn't miss a thing. Seven long nails in a row on the bathroom wall so each pair of pants for each day of the week could be hung neatly and systematically. The workshop was chaotic and in disarray to the untrained eye, but to Grandad it made sense and it was a place to fix (rig) that which was broken and he could. The boat, the fishing poles, the buckets, old windows, old boat motors, cricket cages and every tool you could imagine in multiples. The Grandad giggle, the Grandad gate, the nicknames, the jokes, the tricks, the words he said in that Grandad way and the funny questions are all on my mind today. Gertrude was my nickname followed by a giggle and a grin. He could always make us laugh. He was patient. He was kind and I have no memory of a harsh word ever being spoken. He never forgot a birthday. Even though I received "for a special nephew" and "to a dear grandmother" it was the thought that counted and he NEVER forgot. He walked with a tenderness, a gentleness and yet his very presence demanded respect in the most quiet and gentle way. You never left his house empty handed. A pringles can full of cookies, vegetables from the garden or freezer or a stack of dollars from his pocket. The love was always enough. Every picture you sent received a frame and was placed on the shelves above the couch. Oh how I loved the tours. The tours of the house he grew up in and the stories that filled those walls and our hearts. My favorite times were spent rummaging through the room with all the stuff. I'm not sure the room every had a name, but it was filled with books and pictures, trophies and things. Old things. I loved to just sit and look and ask questions about each memory. The visits were always too short. We all knew it and my heart ached as we pulled away watching Grandad waving from his post, standing on the front porch until we were well out of sight. One of our last visits was my favorite. Just me and Matt and 4 month old Matthew. Grandad held him, jingled his car keys and called him "her" all night. He was a doting Grandad and that was a precious night. For 83 years he assured me that when he got to heaven Jesus would let him in. He was a good man. The best. There is nothing he would not do for his family, his friends and even an occasional stranger. 83 years of living a good life. 83 years and then... he recognized his need for Jesus and gave his life to him. 4 months later His Heavenly Father called him home. He was in a fishing boat in the middle of the creek and His Heavenly Father called him by name. He was spared from this life. He was taken into eternal glory. He had aged, but he wasn't old. He had health issues, but he wasn't sick. He was Grandad and all was well all the time. He lived life to the fullest even until that final moment. God has been teaching me what it means to live life to the fullest in the midst of a life filled with trials and hardship. Maybe that is why he is on my heart. That was his legacy. That was his calling. Grandad had seen hard days. He had been through his share of trials, but you would never have known. He had a passion and a love for life that far outweighed the circumstances. His last breathe was taken in a boat with a fishing pole in hand. Living life to the fullest! I can guarantee there were vienna sausages, sardines and saltine crackers in that boat. That was part of living fully and Grandad knew how. Though we mourned our loss, we rejoiced in his gain. To be absent from this world is to be present with the Lord for the heart of one who believes and he did. His legacy lives on and the desire of my heart is to embrace today, live life to the fullest and love Jesus. Grandad did.


  1. Thank you, Monica.
    - Fred

  2. oh my goodness monica...this made my day!!! my eyes are filled with tears but this is so very real to me right now. i love you:)


  3. Monica, I felt like I was walking right into the very place which you have described about our sweet, loved and missed very much, Granddad. He was truly an amazing man who never ceased to make my day every time I saw him. I miss fixin him Sunday dinner, inviting him to share in our Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners and every birthday.I really miss this thoughtful father, granddad and most of all my father-in law. Thank you so much for bringing his memories to life again today. God bless your mind and your hands for writing such a truthful message.