I'll always remember being not much older than Aubrey and him pulling me around a woods on a sled. He liked to remind me of this often, as he thought it was so funny that I never even attempted to get off and walk with him. Why would I, it was so much easier just "taking a ride?" He would always tell me, "wire bite," because out at the old farmhouse was an electric fence. When I touched it, I looked at him and said, "wire bite grandpa." I'll always remember walking into his bedroom in the winter and it feeling 30 degrees, because he loved to sleep with the windows open...yes...in the winter! I will even remember when he would refuse to wear his hearing aids during a family meal, and would interrupt a conversation because he couldn't hear what was going on. I used to find it annoying, but, will now miss it. When all the family was home together, many times, we would all go and see a movie together. Grandpa never went, because he didn't want to fund liberal Hollywood. I loved sitting on his lap and singing "The Animal Fair." A silly song that he even taught Aubrey...special. I loved listening to him play hymns on the piano. I loved how much he loved Brandon and enjoyed talking baseball with him. Brandon and I both enjoyed listening to his stories about his professional baseball days. We both found it rather amusing that when we would ask him about Babe Ruth (grandpa caught for him in an exhibition game), he would tell us what a bum he was because he was a "drinker, smoker and a womanizer." I can't even begin to explain how much he enjoyed watching our kids and loved getting pictures of them in the mail.
Mostly, I will carry with me, what an example of a true follower of Christ he was. He was in no ways, a perfect man, and he would be the first to tell you of his mistakes. But, growing up, I always knew where my grandpa stood in his relationship with the Lord. He was a typical "old person" in the fact that he liked only hymns and thought church should be a certain way, but always, wanted to give Jesus the glory.
We were told Monday, he had only hours, but he didn't pass until Wednesday night. The last of his 5 daughters arrived Wednesday afternoon. I had the privilege of sitting with the 5 sisters, listening to them tell stories about him and giggle and sing hymns to him. He was able to have all of them together again and enjoy all their voices and then just before midnight, he took his final breaths. What a peaceful way to enter the gates of heaven, with your children singing!
My heart aches this morning, as I think of how much I loved him. But, I am so thankful, that because of the birth of Christ and what that means, I know he's being reunited with my grandma and they are sitting at the Savior's feet, together!