My Grandpa

160/365 days of blogging.

My earliest childhood memory is of my grandfather.  He was the greatest man that ever lived…well at least to a small girl who idolized her grandpa as much as he did her.

He taught me how to believe in myself and that no matter what, I was important, not just to him, but to the whole world.  He always used to tell me that no matter what, I was important, not just to him, but to the whole world.  He always used to tell me that no matter what anyone said, God put me on this earth to perform certain task and when they were complete, I would be called home to be with him.

As a small child I always pictured a man, looking somewhat like my grandpa, calling me on the phone and telling me that my job was done and now I could come home, where ever that was.  I remember a box that I kept under my bed that had my most prized possessions neatly tucked away in it.  An extra toothbrush, my Betsy Wetsy doll, crayons, boo boo frog, a pack of lifesavers and of course a picture of my grandpa.  All of these were vital things a girl of five needed to sustain life if she were “called home.”

When his first grandchild was born he was elated that it was a boy.  the child looked like him and was given his name.  John “Milo.”  What a powerful name.  He was so proud.  When the second boy was born, he was disappointed but satisfied.  By the time the third boy came along, he was starting to get discouraged, but remain content that he had 3 fine grandsons.  Then the news came once again taht his daughter-in-law was on her way to the hospital one last time.  He just knew this had to be it, his last chance for a granddaughter.

My grandma said when the doctors came into the waiting room and said it was a girl, “Grandpa was beaming from ear to ear.”  I wonder sometimes if I actually had the ability, as an infant, to hold this as a memory, or if it has just been told to me so many times that I believe in my mind that I remember.  However in my mind I can see him holding me for the first time.  I can even envision his big balding head and smiling face looking down at me that first time he held me.  In my mind I see this picture every time I have held one of my own children for the first time.  I have even been told that until my brothers were walking, grandpa wouldn’t even hold them, let alone pick them up.  On the other hand he would hardly put me down.  He held me even before my own father did.

There are many memories of my Grandfather.  However, because I was so young they seem to all run together into one.  I was only five when he died, so any of the memories I have of him cover most of my childhood memories as a young child.  A few stick out in my mind very vividly.  The following are collections of these memories that I have written in my journal over the years of things that I remembered as years passed that were at later dates confirmed by family members.

I remember going to the bank with my grandpa.  I am not really sure what bank it was except that it was on big Main Street, so I am assuming ti was the old United Missouri Bank.  I was pretty small because I remember not being able to see over the counter.  I tugged on grandpas overalls, he always wore overalls, “Papa, pick me up,” and grandpa would instinctively pick me up to see what was happening on the other side of the counter.  “What’s your name,” the woman whose eyes I now stared into asked.  I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know but my grandpa calls me knucklehead.”  With that, the whole place busted up.  Understand, my grandfather was a very prominent man in our community and likewise his granddaughter was just as important, at least that is the way I felt when I was with him.

I don’t remember where I lived as a small child, or at least until I was about seven years old, but I remember ever step of my grandfathers house.  There was a very long living room with the dining room and kitchen at the back end of the room.  Whenever I went over to his house, he would always see us pull up and go into the kitchen.  He would wait for me to come inside and then he would clap his hands and hold out his arms.  That was my que to run as fast as I could into his waiting arms.  “And how is grandpas knucklehead today?” he would ask.  there were three bedrooms in the house.  One was my grandparents, which they slept in together.  Unless I was sleeping over.  Then grandpa and I would sleep in my room.  Grandma didn’t seem to mind.  She said she loved having me over because she always seemed to sleep better when I was there.  I think what she really meant was that like his granddaughter, grandpa moved around a great deal when he slept, there fore she slept better when he wasn’t in the bed.

There were two couches in the living room.  One was just for grandpa.  Actually when I think about it, it seemed more lik eit was a twin bed that he laid on most of the time.  Sometimes he would pretend he was sleeping, snoring really loud.  I would crawl over on the floor and very slowly creep up the side of the bed and try to scare him.  But it was usually me that ended up getting scared, or he would pretend to jump so high that he almost fell off the bed.

As the owner and operator of Brookfield Iron and Scrap Metal, grand pa had his own shop on West Helm Street in Brookfield.  The highlight of my week was on Fridays.  He only worked half days and that was the day I got to go to work with him.  He had a place set up in the office strictly for me to play in.  I think there were actually more toys in his office for me to play with one day of the week, than there were at my house for me to play with the rest of the week.  Peoplewould come in the office and he would brag about the things I could do.  Almost like I was some sort of dancing bear, he would have me recite nursery rhymes, sing songs, count, say my ABC’s, and of course tel lthem who I loved best in the whole world, as to which I woudl recite, “Grandpa!”

I remember one man that used to come in the office.  I don’t know what his name was but I called him Whirly.  I called him this because he used to pick me up and twirl me around in circles.  He was my grandpa’s best friend.  After my grandpa died, Whirly became my surrogate grandfather.  He used to take me to Tastee Treat for ice cream.  I always wanted a chocolate cone.  And to this day that is the only kind of ice cream that I like.

My last and final memory I have of my grandfather is of him laying in his casket.  I didn’t feel sad or displaced.  Just confused.  I didn’t understand why he just couldn’t wake up and get out of that thing and play with me.  I remember touching his face and telling dad to get him a blanket because he was cold.  I wasn’t allowed to go to the funeral, just to the private showing with the family.  As an adult looking back to that day, I think I would have been less donfused if I understood that they put him in the ground, and that he would not ever be able to play with me again.  Instead I always wondered when he was coming back.

When I was with my grandfather, I don’t ever remember feeling unloved, sad, frightened, or any other bad feeling.  The only thing I ever felt was that I was the most important person in the whole world, according to him.  Even though he died when I was five, he instilled very good feelings and values in my mind.

As an adult, now a believer in Jesus Christ, I know that God DID put me on this earth for a purpose, and that purpose has not yet been fulfilled.  I now know what my grandpa meant about that purpose.  My purpose here on earth is to minister to the least, the last, and the lost, just as Jesus did.  My job here on earth are to lead as many people as I can to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ as possible, until my dying breath.

Praise God that I am able to wake up each and everyday and work towards accomplishing His task for me!

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