Monday, April 17, 2006

Monday Memories: My Grandpa

Monday Memories: Did I ever tell you about MY GRANDPA ?

My paternal grandfather passed away from cancer when I was about ten. Grandpa was a special man, and I’ve always regretted that I was unable to get to know him better. He lived on the mission field and then in another state until the last year when he was sick.

The few memories I have of the time I spent with him are, of course, precious to me. Every four years or so, we would have a large family reunion at the beach. Grandpa and Grandma had six children and twenty grandchildren, plus all the cousins, etc, so the reunions were massive affairs at a retreat center on the Oregon coast.

I can only imagine how tiring it would be to entertain and play with twenty grandchildren, but Grandpa loved it! I distinctly remember sitting on one of his feet, my arms wrapped around his legs, while he gamely dragged me and another cousin all around the building.

One furlough when Grandma and Grandpa stayed with us, I had just learned to read (which, as those who know my story know, was quite an accomplishment). I remember sitting between them, proudly reading aloud. I think it was that same visit that Grandpa caught me crunching an ice cube and teased that I sounded like a pig eating coal (I didn’t know pigs ate coal!).

But it isn’t the things I did with Grandpa that I remember so much, but he himself. I can still picture his enormously bushy eyebrows, and the perpetually twinkling blue eyes below them. And Grandpa’s hands--hands that had helped so many people over the years… hands that had crafted everything from watches, to missions, to little girls’ hair bows. His hands were worn, and wrinkled with age. The loose skin on the back was peculiar in the fact that if you pinched it gently, it would stay in a little ridge even when you took your fingers away. Patient man that he was, he would let us sit in his lap for hours, playing with his hands.

I had the great privilege of being by Grandpa’s side on the late summer night when he went to be with his Lord. We stood in a circle around his bed, holding hands and singing his favorite hymns as he slipped from this world to the next.

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Debboggy said...

Wow Amy, what a memory to share. I'm glad I read it. My own grandparents are both 85 and not in very good health, so seeing them this Easter weekend had me thinking of their passing which may come soon. I hope that I will be able to recall them with as much clarity and love as you have described your grandfather here.

purple_kangaroo said...

How funny; the MM I had been planning to write and then couldn't remember on Monday was about Grandpa, too. Mine is up now. :)

purple_kangaroo said...

You know, being there in the room with Grandpa when he died is a special memory to me, too. I'm glad so many of us got to be there, voicing love, praying and singing his favorite songs.