Sunday, February 22, 2009
My grandfather, who has never stopped working in his entire life, is at rest now. He passed away on Friday unexpectedly of a heart attack. And I'm not sure how I'm going to get along without him, or how any of his kids can make it without their dad.
Grandpa didn't talk much, and he never said he loved you. But you knew he did anyway, because you could see it in his eyes. He had amazing eyes — beautiful, light blue ones the color of the sky he spent so much time underneath. And he smiled at you in his quiet way when he was outside branding cows or fixing fences.
They don't make men like my grandpa anymore, men that would give you the shirt off their back without any hesitation. They don't make men who are more content to stay home with horses, chickens and cattle, listening to music as they drove around with the ragamuffin dogs in the back of the truck. And they don't make men who have fourteen kids, 78 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren and make it to every baptism, blessing and marriage they can.
I miss him, and I miss the sparkle that used to glimmer in my mom's eyes when she would talk to her dad or just help him chase cows when he needed it. I miss hearing him cuss about the cows or some crazy out-of-towner trying to steal his land (and pretending to be shocked by it). But most of all, I miss feeling the love that radiated from my grandpa when he was sitting with his family.
They're going to brand his casket this weekend with his cattle brand. There will be flowers tied with barbed wire and little tractors nestled inside. There will be 14 children and too many grandchildren gathered together to say good-bye to one of the greatest men they've ever known.
So here's to my grandpa — the best darn farmer, father and grandfather anyone could have had. And even though he'd be telling me to knock it off, I'll be crying at his funeral this weekend and struggling to sing at it. It's the one time when I'll dare to disobey my grandpa — and I won't be the only one.