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THINK! Think and Wonder, Wonder and Think!


It is moments like these that remind me how lucky I am.

My grandfather passed away this morning. I am very saddened by this loss, but my sadness is tempered by the knowledge that he is in a better place. He suffers no more and has been reunited with his wife and many, many friends. Most of whom he lost so many years ago.

Yes, I was lucky to have this man, my Grandfather as a role model. Many young people these days don’t have a father, let alone a grandfather. I really can’t remember many moments when I was able to speak quietly and alone with my grandfather. He wasn’t that sort of man. Instead he was a tall, strong individual who led and taught me by example.

My Grandfather was respected and loved in his small community. He was a regular in Church on Sundays and, for many years he could be found every morning with his group of friends enjoying a cup of coffee at the local diner.

Grandpa had strong convictions and a very clear sense of what was right and wrong and he was not afraid to share his views with anyone who would listen.

He was “old school”.

My grandfather believed when you gave your Marriage vows before God and Man you better well honor that vow. He did so, for over 60 years! This is something to be admired and marveled at. I have been married for 11 years now. I know the difficulties surrounding a marriage. The incredible stresses in life make everything a little more difficult, but my grandfather would never have dreamed of leaving his woman’s side. That is a conviction I strive to keep as well. I thought long and hard about what marriage means before I dove in. I used my grandparent’s strong marriage as a ruler with which to measure my own.

Grandpa’s hero was Ronald Reagan, another great American. I think he would find it fitting they would pass in the same year. They were similar in many ways. They had the same build, tall and lanky, black hair and strong chin. They had the same ideals on what it means to be an American and both were born and raised in a small Midwest town. One of my fondest memories was seeing my Grandfather holding a letter addressed to him from Ronald Reagan, wishing him a happy 70th birthday. That was the biggest smile I had ever seen on his face.

His sense of humor was wonderful. As a boy I remember many happy times around the dinner table on a Sunday afternoon. It was grandpa’s job to mash the potatoes. He would promise my little brother, older sister and I 5 cents for every lump we could find. He never had to pay up because we would always end up “eating the evidence”.

He loved to try to the “look over there” move and then swipe a spoonful of our Ice cream as we looked away. I fell for this a remarkable number of times.

He would play the harmonica for us and sing old songs none of us had ever heard before. (Rats in the sugar bowl 2 by 2…) And he knew Santa Clause on a very personal level and would tell us every Christmas morning how he and Santa had shared a cookie and a shot of whiskey!

My Grandfather was a first generation American, meaning his Parents, my great-grandparents were not born in the USA. They were originally from Finland. My Grandfather could still remember many sayings in Finish, even into his older years.

I am truly lucky to have known and learned from this man. I am eternally grateful for the many years I was able to enjoy his company and I will do my best to live up to his standards as my life goes on.

I miss you terribly.

Your Grandson.
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