Thursday, March 23, 2006

Grandpa Richard

Hey, all! As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, my Grandpa Richard passed away this past weekend, March 18th. As I sat in the funeral home Tuesday morning listening to the various stories that were told, it got me thinking about the precious memories that I have of Grandpa. And today, my Aunt forwarded me what my cousin Rachel in New Mexico wrote about our Grandpa. It got me thinking again.

Grandpa was as long as I can remember a hard working guy. He worked for Ford as the resident electrical engineer, I believe. He was extremely innovative, and holds several patents for Ford. I just found out about that this week. But that innovation went beyond the workplace. A trip in the backyard displayed his accomplishments. One of my favorites is the compost pile. I know that lots of people have compost piles, but Grandpa's was unique. He made a chicken coop like thing, fenced around with chicken wire. Attached to the side of the compost pile was sprinkler, and he would turn the water on and soak down the leaves and grass clippings to hasten the decay. Then there was the homemade wood mill. He rigged up this mill and used a chainsaw as the cutting tool. It worked great, as he could cut his lumber from logs.

Grandpa loved working with wood. He was a master carpenter if I ever saw one. From the beautiful trim in their house, to the bookshelves and little colorful oval-shaped boxes made from very thin wood, Grandpa was amazing. I remember when he and my dad built the shed in dad's backyard. Grandpa had such a love for woodwork. I always loved going over to Grandpa and Grandma's house, and going down to the workshop with him. I think I worked on a few pine-wood derby cars down there.

After I graduated from High School, I spent the summer at Grandpa's house. When I wasn't working, I could be found in the backyard with Grandpa cutting up a huge downed tree with the 6-foot Stihl chainsaw, or even just tossing horseshoes in the horseshoe pit.

One of the things that Grandpa did was push for civil rights in the 60's. He pushed for open housing, and helped to see it voted into law. On a side note, that only reminds me that the Hollywood of perceptions of conservatives as heartless meanies is completely false. Grandpa was the example that being conservative meant that you believed that we all have been created equally, no one is better than anyone else, no matter what color the skin was. That is a great testimony to his life. I learned some other important life lessons from Grandpa, like the value of hard work, honesty and integrity. I saw displayed for years the importance of loving your family. I remember the last phone conversation I had with him. He was home from the nursing home he had been staying in, and he asked me how my family was doing. Then he asked how work was going. He said, "You've worked for that company for a long time. You've always been a good, hard worker". A couple weeks later, he was back in the hospital, and had been sleeping most of the time. I went to see him one Sunday, and when I got there, he lay on the bed, a machine helping him breathe. I took a walk down to the cafeteria with Grandma for a cup of Starbucks. By the time we got back up to his room, he was sitting up in bed and eating. I had a chance to talk with him, and I'm glad I did. He asked me the usual stuff, like, "how's that nice house you bought?" and "how is your family doing".

The Tuesday before he died, I went up to the hospital to visit with him. My uncle Mike and his girlfriend Laura were up there, and Uncle Mike was playing his guitar. He handed it to me, and I began to play some Gospel music, and sing some modern praise and worship songs. Though Grandpa couldn't respond, I know he could hear. I'm so glad I had that time.

I know that this blog is used to preach the Gospel, and encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as those reading that may not yet know Jesus Christ. But today, I wanted to take the time to share with everyone a little bit of Grandpa Richard. I miss you, Grandpa

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