Today is going to be a hard day. We’re grateful to be together and we want to thank you for being here with us.
When dad asked if any of us wanted to speak my siblings looked at me, knowing I might just agree if they encouraged me enough.
Earlier this week I decided I’d better get my thoughts
down in preparation for a service but they didn’t arrive. Last night at 10:30 my words finally found me.
Grandpa had a son who
arrived every morning for coffee – a confidant –
a daughter who knew the best time
to call for a long chat, – best of friends – and a son
who made the best pancakes he’d ever
had – a companion.
Do I talk about harvest, a good coupon for the grocery store or hearty breakfast food? None. These three knew their father. But did we…
All I could think of when I heard the news was how well Grandpa massaged Grandma’s feet with peppermint lotion every night in the living room. I think that sticks with me even today as a beautiful reminder of how precious
love is but I knew there was more of the man I wanted to share today.
I guess you could say we were the first four of his eight grandchildren. The Nebraskans –
first ones to test his nerves, to make him chuckle –
in a way only grandpa’s do – and the first to ruin much of what he probably told
us to stay away from. We were the first four to eat all of his M&Ms – even the
ones hidden in the basement fruit room.
The next group of four grandchildren should thank us for helping Grandpa relax. Did he knock on the table harder or softer while playing cards with you guys? A man of few words and even less patience for shenanigans during card playing. Fairly certain it was a softer knock paired with a twinkle in his eye.
His two Kansas Girls, just down the street and his two
Colorado Boys, who loved fishing just as much as he did – you four were his pride and joy.
We know for certain, as a retired Grandpa, he loved watching you grow up. His perfected Grandpa chuckle was all thanks to you and his opportunity to finally be there for his loved ones activities.
We feel pretty confident Grandpa Willard taught us all how to work hard. If there
was daylight then there was time to weed the garden, move a water hose or tend to a flower bed. Grandpa ran the elevator and not a soul worried about how it was done. Grandpa always
knew how to do things the right way.
Grandpa taught us to enjoy the thrill of the ride.
A master at the wheel, he
often took time to drive us
for pizza. Pooches seemed to be his happy place. I can remember the pep
in his step when it was time for a good slice of pizza or the largest ice cream cone you’d ever see. When we
were kids, whether it was a trip for pizza, ice cream or supper in Denver, Grandpa
Mostly, we remember how serious Grandpa Willard took his family responsibility. Not a one of us ever felt neglect or concern for our safety with Grandpa near. He loved his family. The joy across his face was something we all vetted for. Making Grandpa proud was quite an accomplishment. His expectations were to do our best, don’t back down and remember to take care in what we were put in charge of.
Grandpa Willard was proud of us all. The hand tap, the adoring eye contact and the tight hugs proved it. We watched him love his children, Grandma,
and Dorothy this way. His love meant the world to all of us. There wasn’t much he missed or forgot. It may have
looked like we weren’t listening, Grandpa,
but we were – I promise.
Grandpa, when we got to your house yesterday you weren’t sitting in your kitchen chair waiting for us to pull in to the driveway, or looking for the prettiest finches in the backyard. You weren’t in your chair in the living room either. Its gonna take some time to get used to our new view.
We’ll do what we can to continue your legacy of hard work, a little fun and a lot of love for your great-grandchildren.
We love you.
P.S. Love you all too,