Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Grandpa Wally

My dear Grandpa passed away last week. I was asked to write a paragraph in memory of my Grandpa Wally. I instantly became overwhelmed by that idea since it is not in my nature to be "brief". I look at the photo above and i remember that shirt he wore. I remember before he retired always smelling like oil. Motor oil mostly. I remember his hands - being a running joke in our family because they were always so dirty. Even now when my oldest son comes home from playing at school, his hands filthy and dirt caked under it nails, it simultaneously grosses me out and makes me fondly remember my Grandpa. Funny how that is.

What I think my Grandpa's legacy was - was the way he loved life - the way he loved people. I remember he used to talk to EVERYBODY. if we were sitting waiting for a table at a restaurant - he would strike up a conversation with the person next to him. Elevator? he would talk to you. It made an impression on me because its not an easy thing to do when you get older. It is vulnerable. But he genuinely cared about people- yes, even strangers. Also - he made an impression on me that there was nothing beneath him. I remember a sermon I heard in high school in which the priest was describing a Bishop cleaning off tables before a church event and he asked the Bishop if there wasn't something else he should be doing and the Bishop told him, "There is no service too small" - it made me think of my Grandpa. I know when my parents would leave for the weekend and if Grandpa and Grandma watched us my dad would leave a To Do list for Grandpa. That is how he loved - he took care of his people. You had a cat that needed to be put out of its misery? Grandpa was there with a shovel in 10 minutes. You had a garage door that didn't work? Grandpa would come down and take care of it.

You know how you go to a play and it is amazing and the sets are incredible and the singing is amazing and at the end the actors take all the credit, but really if you were to take away all the work that the people behind the curtain did, it would have been a cheesy living room production. I think of my Grandpa like that - he was a backstage worker and was fine not receiving the credit, even if he was the reason for the amazing play.

I am very thankful to have grown up so close to my Grandma and Grandpa. I am thankful for the values he helped me to instill by seeing the very ways he practiced them (not necessarily preach). I am thankful for the stories I will continue to share with people. Stories that before seemed sad to share because it was a reminder that my Grandpa was not able to do and be the person he was before- but now it is a celebration since he is up in Heaven playing pranks and belly laughing. I can't wait to see you again Grandpa! In the meantime, I will just continue to share about your life and how you loved and try to make you proud (since I know I was your favorite :) )