Saturday, February 9, 2013

Remembering Great-Grandpa

My great-grandpa passed away a little over 5 years ago.  Every year at this time, the rose catalogs start coming and my reflections turn to him and my great-grandma.

I was cleaning out some old emails and found this that I had written that was read by the pastor at his funeral:

"My favorite memories of Great-Grandpa are of visiting in the summer when I was a small child.  Grandpa was always taking the most ordinary objects around the house and making fun things for us kids to play with - it was always an adventure and learning experience at the same time.  
He would take glass salad dressing bottles and spray-paint them in the neatest colors and turn them into beautifulvases.  

He would take plastic milk jugs and hang them from the trees for us to bat around with the baseball bat.  He made special wooden swings and doll beds for our dolls and colorful chimes to twist in the wind.  
He showed us the different vegetables in his garden and taught us why they needed to be planted in a certain spot and how to tell which ones were ripe.  He made a game out of moving around the set of plastic yard ducks to different areas of the yard and see how long it would take us to spot them.  He would patiently pitch plastic softballs to us long after I'm sure he was ready to stop.  He always remembered which child favored which toys and games and had them ready to play with when we arrived.  He always greeted us with a big warm hug and a "there's my special friend!"  

And when we didn't want to leave with our parents at the end of a fun day he would say "well then I'm just gonna have to get you!" and chase us around the yard until the crying stopped and it was a game to see who could make it to the car first - sometimes we were all out of breath from laughing by the time the game ended.  
As we got older he showed us where to find the ladybugs in the garden and taught us how to identify the many varieties of roses.  
He let us choose which roses we wanted for our own special bouquets and showed us how to paint the glass vases ourselves.  
He always remembered which rose was each child's favorite and made sure we got at least one in our birthday bouquets.  He made us each special "flying" wooden ducks of our own which we all kept until long after they began to fall apart.  Much later when he was no longer able to take part in the physical play, he took great care in choosing just the right special treats for the kids when he knew they would be visiting.  And he always asked "and how's my special friend doing?"  (We were each his special friend.)  It was a long-standing saying between us that he was my GREAT grandpa!"

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