Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Slice of Life: A Man of Honor

It's Tuesday so stop by Two Writing Teachers to join tonight's link-up and conversation.  There's something about moving from blog to blog to savor the little stories that make us smile.  

"Blood is thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood."                 --- Garth Brooks:  Thicker Than Blood

On this Veterans' Day we honor the men and women who have served for our country; those people who believed in freedom and helped us to live as we do today.  Of course, behind all of those who served in uniform there are other stories.  Sometimes the story of a hero is beyond the battlefield.  Sometimes the story of a hero is built over years of making a difference in other ways.  This is the story of my grandfather who, not only served his country, but taught us all what it means to live to make a difference.

Many years ago my grandma, a widow with two small boys, married this man.  Who would have known that this one decision would shape so many events that would follow?  He worked hard for his family.  He eventually landed a good job with a progressive company.  This job helped him to raise three boys into adulthood.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with Grandpa and Grandma.  Grandpa would come home from work, sit down in his chair, and relax a bit before dinner.  He was the king of keeping me occupied.  He always had a puzzle nearby we should try to puzzle out.  He'd play a game of Kerplunk or a few hands of Cribbage.  He taught me to play chess though I rarely was able to win.  He would endlessly keep his eye on his watch while I would try to increase the amount of time I could stand unwavering on one leg.  As I've grown older I've realized he apparently was wise in ways to calm a child.

Grandpa kept the best stash of treats.  Grandma always had plenty of food for us at her house.  She made graham cracker sandwiches with homemade icing.  She kept a fruit drawer full of tangerines and apples.  She canned applesauce and peaches.  She bought milk from the farm with the frothy layer of cream resting at the top of the jug.  Though she had all of these treats always ready, nothing was as tasty as Grandpa's bag of Keebler Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies or a dish of his vanilla ice-cream.

As I got older I learned of the stories that went along with this man.  I learned about his mother who died when he was much too young.  I learned of his service to our country testing planes before they would go into battle, putting them into a dive and hoping they would come out.  I learned about how he had met my grandmother after her first husband had died in Iwo Jima during World War II.  I learned of the work he did with his company and was amazed as I started working with computers to realize all he knew about programming.  I never saw him give up and he was always one to do the right thing.

Many years later my children would go over to my grandparent's house.  My grandpa would occupy them with games.  He would take them to preschool or pick them up from school when they needed a ride.  They'd hang out with Grandma and him often.  They'd eat his snacks and my youngest, to the shock of the entire family, would steal his chair.

Stories of heroes are often told about the battlefield, but sometimes the real stories are wrapped deep inside our hearts.  They are the stories that shaped our lives and made us who we are today.  I know I am who I am today thanks to the love and hard work of this man.  My grandfather, a man of honor and integrity, is in many ways responsible for where we all are today.


12 comments:

  1. "Sometimes the real stories are wrapped deep inside our hearts." A lovely tribute to your grandfather. You were blessed to have him in your life.

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  2. Beyond beautiful. Heart moving. Made so many connections with you. Wiping the tears.

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  3. Thank you for sharing. These are the stories that mean so much, the ones inside our hearts.

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  4. Beautiful...

    You have captured what it means to celebrate the life of someone who worked for the greater good each & every day...

    My heart is full hearing these wonderful stories, on a cold snowy day here in my world. Today as we sit in remembrance, we also remember lived well lived.

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  5. This is so beautiful! Love how you wrote it and emphasized the small moments that made a difference. Thank you for sharing with us!
    Clare and Tammy

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  6. Thanks for sharing this heartfelt tribute to your grandfather with us today, Cathy. Loved the detail about the treats he'd share with you. That made me smile.

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  7. " ....or a dish of his vanilla ice-cream." When I read this line, I connected to my own grandfather. We would eat strawberry ice cream and talk for hours. Without a dad, my grandfather was the first man of honor in my life. Thank you for sharing your story and helping me remember special times. You made me smile.

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  8. That was a beautiful slice - full of finely realized details that brought this wonderful man to life for us. How lucky you were to have had him in your life - and how lucky we were that men such as this went out to do battle for us.

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  9. Dear Cathy,
    Your words made me smile through the whole post. What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. You're right, sometimes the real stories are wrapped inside our hearts. I can tell your heart is filled with love for this special man.

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  10. You brought back so many memories of my own grandparents, but also my step-father, Cathy. My father was killed in the Philippines, & my mother remarried too, like your grandmother. His life was so similar to your grandfather's, a very special man. My daughter & I have often wondered if those who served in that time became who they were because of their experience. I loved hearing all about your, & then your children's time with him.

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  11. I love how you wrap up this piece. You pulled together all the little bits and pieces into a lovely tribute to your grandfather!

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  12. Well said my daughter!!! He was a very special man and you all were blessed to have him as a grandpa!!! I still can't believe that Cassie could sit in his chair without him becoming upset, lol...

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