Even knowing where Grandpa is, it still is hard! I have been blessed beyond measure by having that man in my life! Growing up all I ever wanted was to be on the farm. Stories of how it had been passed through the generations and even at a very young age I intended to manage it when I grew up. Anywhere Grandpa was you could usually find me...in fact when out at the local feed mill he would proudly introduce me as his 'hired hand'. When I was 7 we moved an hour away for my Dad's new principal/teaching job. Our family made great friends and a great life there. However to me it was not the same as the farm! It never was home! I would go home to the farm every weekend I could. As I got into my preteens I often asked my grandparents to move in with them. This was not at all because of conflict with my parents like one might think, rather it was a case of homesickness. After several months of my asking, Grandpa devised a sure fire plan to remedy the situation. He informed my dad that he could not maintain the farm anymore by himself and was going to sell it. "By himself" were the trigger words because he knew my Dad felt the same way I did about the farm and also knew what his response would be at the mention of "selling" the family farm. Yes, we packed up and moved back! That was in the late 70's and thankfully Dad was willing to sacrifice his time to drive 2 hours a day for his education job while coming home to work more hours each night at his love, the family farm. I am convinced that God prompted this plan because it is also what allowed us to keep our farm during our nation's 1980's Farm Crisis. I owe everything I am to my grandfather(and my father's sacrifice) for it is this one incident that I can pinpoint which could have made my life go a totally different direction!
There are countless other ways he impacted my life and others. I learned some of my best life lessons by his life. Lessons that were not just spoken but lived out every day!
- Grandpa valued education highly so much that four of his children went to college and ended up becoming teachers. He also gave his grandchildren money for college whenever possible.
- All the grandchildren laughed as he insisted it is truly a privilege to have a job...we would be heard stating "I have to go to_____" and he would restate it "No, you GET to go to ____". In today's uncertain economic times I often hear that conversation played out in my mind anytime I am about to grumble about summer commencing and a new school year starting....he was right then but as an adult who acknowledges God's control I see it better now!
- It really is better to give than to receive! Not only was he a great provider for his family but Grandpa would give as much as possible to see others provided for too. His coworkers(upon one hailstorm that wiped out a crop, Grandpa took a job at the local Pottery plant so he could pay the farm bills and he continued there until his late 70's) once gave him an award and the plaque read "give the shirt off your back" award. We only saw glimpses of this because Grandpa was an extremely generous man but VERY humble man. He never talked about his role in other's provision. Twenty years ago I was in the hospital when an employee came in to ask me if I was related to him. In that brief conversation I found out that not only did he provide her with a car so she could continue her schooling and leave factory work but she had several other instances of his money used to buy coworkers medicines, food, and college expenses. So many "thank you's" that his ears have heard!
- God is faithful and provides! With that came the lessons of differences between a need and a want. His stance was always "God will provide everything we need and often He will bless our wants too". I see the fruit of that wisdom today! Exodus 17:14...."rehearse it in their ears".....the purpose for that is training the generations to trust in God and building their faith. I only pray that I can do this as well as many of their generation did!
Grandpa, until we meet again....