Saturday, November 3, 2007

'Pretty good - for a young fella..'

Today we celebrated my Grandpa's 90th birthday.  For weeks my mom had been beside herself with thoughts of this gathering she had been planning, calling family and friends, organizing food and drink, and praying that the remnants of hurricane what's his name would spare us it's torrential downpour (it didn't).  Gramps knew only that the immediate family would be coming - mom, dad, myself and my girls.  He had no clue that most of the town would be coming to call, or that the great pig would be driven over after roasting all day at a neighbor's house. 

What a memorable event for all...  It isn't very often that you meet a man like my Grandpa.  He's a rock - with a heart of gold.  After losing his wife of what felt like a hundred years to Alzheimer's last year, I was almost sure he would succumb to depression as I watched his heart struggle to regain it's strength.  He also had to have surgeries - three of them, to be exact - to remove cancer from his face and eye.  Now, seeing how he has overcome so much, keeping his head held high and continuing to push through each day with determination and strength, I am myself overcome with love and pride for a man who has taught me much about living life to the fullest and finding beauty and comfort in things both large and small. 

When you ask him how he's doing, he will always answer the same way:  "Pretty good, for a young fella."  When you ask him what he did that day, the answer comes in a list that will shock you.  He tends a vegetable garden every year, does his own grocery shopping, cooking, housework and laundry (never using a dryer, but hanging his clothes out to dry and on a rack in the colder months), brings in wood for his wood stove, mows most of his 5 acres of land on his riding lawnmower, and just recently passed his driver's test, renewing his license for the next 5 years. 

Things my Grandpa taught me:

Never let your line sit at the bottom of the pond...  bring is up a bit and keep it tight enough to feel the fish bite.

Shut the damn light off.

Never say 'goodbye'.  Only 'good day' or 'good night'.

Walk your visitors out when they leave and wave as they drive away.

To cup my hands together and blow like a train whistle.

To support, love and accept your family when they are doing what makes them happy, even if you disagree.  And when they fall, be there to pick up the pieces.

Country music soothes the soul.

Never give up.

Family ~ is everything.




fasttrack58 said...

Wow.... Happy Birthday!!!
Linda :)

nhd106 said...

What an incredibly touching entry, just warms my heart.   I had a very special relationship with my Grandpa too.  I'm so glad that this amazing man is in your life and enriching it so.    I'd love to meet him one day!
I'd also love to hear your train whistle!  ; )
Happy Bday Gramps....
Love and hugs to you both,

lanurseprn said...

I'm so happy that you still have your Grandpa here to have a relationship with. Mine died when I was young. I love the things you learned from him. Especially the 2nd on the list made me chuckle. LOL!
Have a good evening.

pippa1116 said...

you are so lucky to still have your grandpa!!!!! happy birthday to him!!!!!

ukgal36 said...

Wow what a great guy! Happy Birthday!

rbrown6172 said...

what a wonderful entry!  happy birthday to your grandpa!!  :)

nay0114 said...

Those are some awesome things that you learned from your Grandpa. He deserves a wonderful birthday so glad everything worked out. He sounds just like John's great great aunt she did everything herself too. She lived to be 98yo and was still living in her own home, cooking, cleaning, shopping you name it. She use to scare the crap out of me when we'd find out she'd been on a step ladder trying to clean windows. Happy Birthday to your Grandpa
Take care, Chrissie

chat2missie said...

Happy Birthday to your grandpa.  He looks very happy.

tendernoggle said...

awwwww...he looks so happy too!!! I know hw enjoyed his 90th birthday soooooooooo much!!! He sounds alot like my daddy ....a good, honest, dependable, man...not many folks like that anymore.
I am so happy for him and for you and for your mom and famly that all worked out.
love ya,

helmswondermom said...

What a treasure you have for a grandfather!  You need to hang onto him!  I love the picture.  He looks very happy.  And what a great day for him!   I love your list of things you've learned from him.

deshelestraci said...

Lori from Dusty Pages sent me over.  What a really wonderful tribute to your grandpa.  Glad you still have him.

bobbysgirl8584 said...

what a nice entry for your grandfather! he sounds like a great man!
Happy 90th birthday to him!!!
have a great week!!

siennastarr said...

Oh, man.. this just made me get all teary.  I know you didn't write it in a mushy tone, but your grandpa sounds like someone I would love to meet!  I never had grandparents, and envy those who do, especially when they are like your grandpa!  What a wonderful man he is, and what a beautiful and loving tribute you paid to him.  Tell him I said HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!


wwfbison said...

I came your way by Lori - this was well worth the read, it is wonderful and your Grandpa sounds like an awesome man.  Happy Birthday!!!!  Great read, thanks for sharing your amazing Grandpa with us.

wwfbison said...

I came your way by Lori - this was well worth the read, it is wonderful and your Grandpa sounds like an awesome man.  Happy Birthday!!!!  Great read, thanks for sharing your amazing Grandpa with us.

wwfbison said...

I came your way by Lori - this was well worth the read, it is wonderful and your Grandpa sounds like an awesome man.  Happy Birthday!!!!  Great read, thanks for sharing your amazing Grandpa with us.

layla44808 said...

Happy Birthday!!! Oh my, he sure does take care of himself...That's so great.
I'll bet he loved his party..Everyone should take some of the things he taught you to heart..I know I will..

jeanno43 said...

What a wonderful man and what a great tribute.  Happy Birthday Grandpa!

stupidsheetguy said...

This was such a day-brightener. I had a similar type of "Gramps" (that's even what we called him!) and the wisdom men like that pass on is done so lovingly and gently that you never forget them. Wonderful gift you guys gave him.

Thanks for this :)

queeniemart said...

i am in love with your wonderful grandpa....what an amazing mna he is!!!!!! I am so glad you all were able to get together and celebrate him. He sounds awesome.

mariebm56 said...

Happy Birthday to your Grandpa!
This was such a beautiful tribute to him....Thank you for sharing his celebration with us~

lindapaterson177 said...

Loved this...Happy Birthday Gramps.
bella xx

sunnyside46 said...

what a great legacy