He taught me that getting old didn’t mean you quit living—and that you could still go swimming every day and play volleyball and travel the world when you were going-on-90.He taught me not to be afraid to dream and to try new and crazy things. Start a restaurant! Convert a roller skating rink into a church building! Plant potatoes a month earlier than anyone else in the county! Invent an automatic bed-making machine!
He taught how to put my own worms on my own hook and know how to tie proper knots so I could change my own lures. It was from him that I learned that lunch in a fishing boat could legitimately consist of a can of pop and a candy bar. He also taught me the art of telling people how many fish we caught without revealing where we caught them, and how to sweet talk ’em when they weren’t biting.
He taught me that ice cream was a vegetable—and should, accordingly, be eaten as often possible, preferably topped with homegrown raspberries. And chocolate and caramel and nuts and hard cookies. But he also taught me that vegetables (the real ones) were pretty amazing, too.
He taught me how to judge a good dairy cow, and then how to care for her after I took his advice and bought her.
He taught me that it’s possible for a lame pun to be hilarious, when said with that much mischief twinkling in one’s eyes.
He taught me how to make Spanish omelettes.
He taught me that fashion statements can be made with coveralls just as well as bolo ties, matching belt buckles and fancy cowboy boots. That having hard candy in your pocket is a great way to win friends and influence people. And that a hearty splash of gasoline will cure a bad case of poison ivy (much to my mother’s dismay…).
You were only ninety-one young, Grandpa—not old enough to die. I’m going to miss you!
“For You…O God… have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name.” (Psalm 61:5)