He is the pillar of our family and the most amazing man I have ever known. And over the weekend my family will be getting together to celebrate. Although I can't be there my thoughts are with him. So to honor my grandfather the best way I can with 1200 miles in between, I thought I would share of few of the things that he has taught me about life.
As a young man, my grandfather and some of his buddies made a fake flying saucer out of old car parts and placed it in a neighbors yard as a joke. This fake UFO looked so real that the FBI had to get involved.
the importance of public service
My grandfather served as mayor for many years of his small town, although he would joke that he got it because no one else wanted the job. Somehow those qualities were transferred to both my father and my brother who have also served in the public sector. Although I have no political aspirations of my own, I have a new found respect for those who do and the sacrifice and hard work that they put into it.
the importance of love
It is no secret that my grandfather loved my grandmother with all that he had. I can remember as a kid, being taken back by the sweet things he would say and do for her. I remember one instance in particular when my grandmother was in the hospital, we had come to visit and to take my grandpa out for lunch. We didn't go far, only to the hospital cafeteria, however he wanted to stop at the gift shop before going back to her room. I remember he picked up a small angel and he told me that he was going to buy, "an angel for his angel." As a child, I was so moved by this sentiment that it still sticks with me. It is always important to show the ones that you care about how much you love them.
the importance of John Deere
As a farmer, you can never have enough of the green and gold. From big tractors, to the small toy figurines. They are as much a necessity as the air we breathe.
the importance of staying young
My grandfather loves his toys. From his electric train sets to his signing birds and dancing politicians, he loves to show them off to anyone who is interested. It is especially sweet to see the faces of my girls light up when he shows them his toys, and in return to see the sparkle in his eyes. Whenever we would visit, he would always take my girls for a ride on his electric wheel chair up and down the hall and you could hear them giggle the whole way. He is living proof that age is only relative.
Happy Birthday Grandpa! We love you and we miss you! Celebrate strong, and have a wonderful day surrounded by those you love. I couldn't think of a better way to spend it.