January 29, 1925, this is the day that my grandfather was born. Living though the Great Depression and many wars, taught him the value of family and hard work. Everything I am today is because of who he was. He worked his way up from switchman on the Grand Trunk Western Railroad to the Train Master. He was a man who would go out in the rain, snow, sleet, whatever to care for his animals; he worked many jobs to take care of his family. He loved my Grandma with all his heart. He was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in and to fight for it, but he was kind and caring with his wife, kids, grandchildren and pets. I always knew that I was safe from whatever boogeyman was out there because all boogeymen were afraid of my Grandpa. I was lucky to grow up with a knowing, a sense of belonging and confidence because I knew my Grandfather was in my corner and no matter what happened he would be there. He taught me to be tough and kind. To love my family and show kindness to those less fortunate. He had such a mischievous streak, one that I could recognize in myself. His grin often got him out of trouble with Grandma or into it deeper depending on the situation. He taught me to ride a horse, to saddle them up and respect the power and the intelligence of the animal. He never judged me when I had a baby at 19 and was unwed and I named that baby after him. At that point he lived in Texas and was raising cattle so he was not as close as I would have liked him, but he sent my son photo albums of all the cows. On the back he wrote, the prices and weight of them, where he bought them. Maybe it was his way of imparting some wisdom to the next generation, but I treasure them. He sent my son cowboy boots and that summer when he came up to Michigan, my son was 3, we took him to his first rodeo. Grandpa sat with him on his lap. He loved his family, no matter how old or young. It has only been 2 months since he has passed. I hung his spurs and his favorite horse’s bridle from hooks in my bedroom. It’s my tribute to such a wonderful man, a man who shaped so much of who I am. He was my partner in crime from the day of my birth to the day of his death.
Happy Birthday Grandpa! I love you and love doesn’t die.