So the travels for the summer, and hopefully for awhile, are done. We're tired, but they have been great, and last weekend was no exception. Since we had only recently returned from Michigan and the kids had started school it was difficult to make it. In the end only I could go, but I didn't want to miss out.
As many of you know my grandfather passed away last Christmas. I've been meaning to write about him since then, but it seems hard to know how to capture such a special man in words, I wish I was a better writer for times like these. However, now seems a good time. For a couple years now my grandma and he had planned a big party for their 25th anniversary, which was to be last Sunday. Fittingly, for a man who loved people, life, tennis, and chocolate (ok, maybe chocolate came first) she wanted to have the party still as a celebration of his life. It was a wonderful time and, as he would have wanted, everyone had a great time.
So where can I start in describing this man? I'm sure I have to start with his sense of humor. If you ever met the man you would shortly be caught in a fit of laughter as it would not take him long to tell you his repertoire of jokes. Some might be classified as a bit crude, but there was something about this man that he could pretty much tell you anything, even if he just met you, and not offend anyone. He was even great with kids; I will fondly remember my daughter squealing with joy as she sneakily tried to steal M&Ms from the jar by his chair without him noticing. He would always wait until the last moment and then yell a loud, "Hey" as she darted away laughing with her hands full of the goodies that he loved to share with kids...well as long as it wasn't the last M&Ms, but I don't think he ever ran out that I know of.
I could go on about many other things that he loved, but most of all he loved people and, as was shown this last weekend, was loved by so many. He touched people from Traverse City; to Mesa, AZ; to Texas; to The Villages, FL; and many more places. But I think one of the most amazing things was his role as Father to so many as my Aunt Cathy shared so beautifully. If our fathers are supposed to show us an image of our heavenly father, then my grandpa succeeded. God adopts us into his family, and my grandfather has brought so many into his. When he married my mom's mother he took on an enormous task, bringing three young girls, my mom and her two sisters (one soon to enter and one already in her teens), into his house. Yet, with love he merged them together with the son he already had. After his wife passed, he married again, and once again had children to bring into his family, this time a teenage son and two who were grown. Yet, as before, he lovingly opened his heart to more and more. It takes a special man to be a great father to his own children, yet this man has managed to do it with not just one family, but three, and to bring them all together in love.
If we can even partially live up to his great example of love, I think we will more than succeed in life and in doing so make him proud. As with my grandma, I like to think of him looking upon us, seeing us following his example, and smiling.
I, as so many others, will always remember him fondly.