What I Learned From My Grandpa

Posted: July 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

My grandpa passed away this last week at the age of 91. Yes, that’s old, but he was in good health and it came as a shock to the family. We’ve all been half expecting a call about Grandma who has been suffering in a downward spiral with Alzheimer’s. For the past six or seven years, every holiday has been celebrated with the undertone of “this could be Grandma’s last…” She has been successfully showing us the unpredictability of life for a long time.

Speaking of unpredictability, Grandpa caught us off guard, dying of a heart attack. He had his ritual bowl of ice cream while watching the 10 o’clock news, washed his bowl and sat in his chair. His heart attacked. He was revived a couple times, but ultimately the strongest man I have ever known succumbed.

My mother asked me if I would speak on behalf of the grandchildren at his funeral. I told her I would be honored to do it. When I sat down to write what I wanted to say I decided on a simple list of things I have learned about life from my grandpa. I decided to put it up here for anyone who would like to read it, but also so anyone who knew my grandpa could add to it in the comments.


What I learned from my Grandpa… a list in no particular order:

  • What a War Hero is
  • What a true family man is
  • What the phrase “work ethic” means
  • What it means to love your wife in sickness and in health
  • It is possible to have hundreds of people respect you just for who you are
  • How to keep squirrels out of a bird feeder
  • There is no such thing as a broken lawnmower
  • Coloring with chalk on the driveway is fine – Crayons are a bad idea though
  • How to scale and clean fish
  • How to light a “bomb fire”
  • All dogs you don’t know are named Charley
  • Suspenders are cool
  • The phrase “Fight nice you guys!”
  • What blackberry brandy tastes like
  • What coffee cans and jars are really for
  • If your kitchen knives aren’t razor sharp, you don’t deserve to use them
  • How to pack a boat for fishing
  • How to tame an ornery outboard motor
  • Where the Crappie or Perch are biting
  • Every coach and referee on the football field is a dribblehead
  • Always stick with the Packers
  • Never pay someone to do something you can do yourself
  • There is nothing better than a cold beer on a hot day
  • How to get dogs to love you for life with affection and lots of treats
  • Always carry a pocket knife
  • How to open a gift without tearing the wrapping paper
  • Hunting is appreciating nature – bringing home a deer is just a bonus
  • Take care of your fishing poles and rifles and they will last you a lifetime
  • It doesn’t matter how old you are, slow drivers in your way are always old farts, fogies, and codgers
  • How to keep stories of good times in the past alive by retelling them whenever possible
  • How to brighten a room with a smile
  • Have a bowl of ice cream before bed
  • Be thankful for everything you have and everything anyone has ever given to you

Today, Grandpa, we mourn your death, but more importantly we celebrate your life. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful memories.


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