At around the tender age of four or five, I invited my grandpa to my wedding. I don’t remember ever asking this, of course, but grandpa sure did. He told me later that he responded with something along the lines of, “Why yes, of course!” and secretly prayed that this would be the case.
On my wedding day, grandpa was there. He wore a fabulous tux and even embarrassed grandma a bit by wheeling down the aisle immediately after the wedding party. He didn’t care. He made it. Every time I saw grandpa after our wedding, he made sure to remind me that he fulfilled my request. Grandpa said my wedding was just for him.
What a man.
His greatest accomplishment, of course, in addition to fathering five children, grandfathering seventeen grandchildren, and great-grandfathering at least twenty one great grandchildren (with plenty more on the way I’m sure), was loving his wife with incredible passion up to the very hour of his passing. If you’ve seen the movie, “The Notebook,” then you know my grandparent’s love. Married at 17 and 18, my grandparents loved for 65 years. I will always remember the way my grandpa loved his Jeannie. He appropriately died in her arms.
There are other memories, of course. Memories of character and travel and accomplishments. Grandpa never missed a high school graduation. He traveled to Sacramento to watch our We the People team win state, wheelchair and all. As a kid, he and grandma often took cousin Julie and I on trips around California. I will never forget our trips to the Gold Country, Santa Cruz, Carpenteria, the wildflowers, and many other adventures involving misread directions, splendid food, setting up the tent trailer, and singing “California, here I come!” at the top of our lungs.
He was a beautiful man with a beautiful heart. He loved Jesus deeply and lived just so. He put an end to generations of abuse, loving his children and wife with compassion and care.
He grew even more beautiful with age.
I am blessed to have lived twenty four years of this man’s eighty three.
He never missed a graduation! Here he is at Patrick’s.
At my wedding
Meeting Ellie – I think she loves him 🙂
I love you grandpa. And thanks for coming to my wedding. See you in a bit.