The Meaningful Times with Grandpa Will Make Me Think About the Way I Live the Rest of my Life
This is the remembrance speech I gave at my grandpa’s funeral service.
I would like to take this time to talk about my grandpas true character. When I was about 14, I was spending a week with grandma and grandpa at their house up on Canepa Drive. I had gotten ready to leave with grandpa to go to pick up Grandma somewhere, and I told grandpa that I was ready to go and he said
“hold on let me use the ‘pot’ real quick,”
-which meant that he was going to be in the bathroom for another 10 minutes. So I was waiting in the dining room on the chair, and said “come on hurry, we need to go!” Impatiently. I heard the flush then I could hear him washing his hands, then brushing his teeth, and then all of a sudden he yelled “yech!,” and came rushing out with a big grin on his face and said
“I just brushed my teeth with hemorrhoid cream!”
We laughed so hard and that is the kind of fun we would always have. Grandpa was always fun, and would use humor to break the ice when he spoke to people. But he always did it in an uplifting way. He would come up to strangers and say “look at this handsome guy” or “who’s this pretty gal?” And just start a conversation with almost anyone, and if that person had just met him, I promise that he or she felt uplifted after that conversation.
To know me is to know my grandpa. I like to think that the good parts of me come from him. And many of you that were close to my grandpa can feel the same way. He and grandma always had time for us grandchildren and for their friends. He always was giving of his time.
When grandma and grandpa would come over to our house in Foster City, the hours before were a little stressful, because that meant we had to have a full top to bottom of the house cleanup. Mom would be yelling at us to
“Put your toys away! Clean the bathroom! Stop fighting!”
And so we would do our best to get it clean, but grandpa would always find a spot on the carpet to clean, so he would be on his hands and knees, cleaning a spot on the carpet that me or Grant had made. And he didn’t do it because he wanted to see a clean carpet. He did it because he wanted us to have a the best life. And if cleaning a stain on the carpet meant that we didn’t have to look at it while watching TV, then he was happy to do it. So many times he and grandma did things because they wanted us to have good lives. We would not have been able to have the bigger house in Foster City without their help. They were able to help me pay for my first year of college. They would buy us nice clothes. And it was always selfless — they just wanted the people in their lives to have great lives.
And of course they were always reminding us that Jesus loves us, and sending cards with Bible verses (this is more Grandma, because she has better handwriting) and telling us how special we are — all the time. And Grandpa would always tell me that I had a really good father and mother. It was just another way that he would lift us up and make let us know that we were special.
He was the biggest fan in our lives. At our sporting events he would be yelling and cheering “Go Baby!” If you were in the stands you knew who he was cheering for. Every time I was out with him and he was meeting a friend, he would introduce me as “this is Michael, my oldest grandson, he is a star football player, or has the most beautiful baby girl, or is a hot-shot business man, or has the most gorgeous wife.” And he would do that for all of his grandchildren and children and anyone that he loved.
Grandpa was the best grandpa. And I’m biased, but him and grandma even were asked to be grandparents at the Royal Family kids camp, which is an annual camp for kids who grow up in foster homes, and those kids felt special with Grandpa and Grandma.
The way that grandpa spoiled us was a little different than the way grandma spoiled us. Grandpa didn’t like shopping, but he would drive grandma and me to the mall, and wait in the car reading hunting magazines, while grandma shopped for hours at Gottschalks, and bought us new school clothes, but it had to be on Thursday, because that is when the day for senior discount. Grandpa would take me to the flea market early on Saturday mornings. I thought he was so cool, because he would bargain with someone and get a great deal on a tool.
There were also plenty of times that we would stay up late watching The 3 stooges and laughing our heads off. Even when I was 20 we would watch Jackass on MTV, and he thought that was hilarious. We would laugh uncontrollably. He was always treating me to sweets in the house. He would make these “Oky” combinations of food. My favorite was the syrup and peanut butter mixed together and put on Saltine crackers. I think Grant’s favorite was a bowl of ice cream mixed with buttermilk. Not sure if that is even sold in stores anymore. Since we were always there on Christmas break, after Grandma went to bed, we would go on a treasure hunt to see where she hid the fudge and peanut brittle. It was usually in a spot where only a skinny kid could get into, like under the bed, so we would pull out the tin and only take 1 or 2.
There were also times that he spent in solitude and peace. He was always working on a cool car in his garage, fixing it up and showing it off until he sold it. He would also go hunting often, armed only with his bow and arrow. He taught us how to shoot archery in his yard when we were young, and tell us the story of how he shot 2 deer in 11 seconds. He let me start driving in parking lots when I was only 12, which was nothing compared to his daredevil days of riding motorcycles at 140mph.
As I got older into my late 20’s, he started telling me more about his time serving in the army. He saw and did things in the Korean war that are too gruesome to speak about here. But it helped me know what he has gone through. He also told be about his position as a machinist at Lockheed, and how he helped in the civil rights movement for the employees within Lockheed in the 60’s.
Grandpa was tough. He came from the dustbowl, and was always telling me that since he was a short guy he had to be tough in his own way. That’s probably why he didn’t wear shorts for the first time until 1993. I’m probably exaggerating this, but I feel like I never saw him wear shorts — until one day he finally wore them! His legs were so pasty white and smooth! Ever since he found out how fun shorts were, he wore them all the time. If you don’t believe me — look at the old photos.
Grandpa created a legacy for our family. He is a man that I looked up to and I will strive to follow in his footsteps. That means taking his attributes and treating my family the way he did. That means seeking Jesus for wisdom. That means to give to others without expecting anything in return.