Some people leave legacies which stir nations. Others leave quieter legacies—but every bit as important—which sway the limbs of a family tree. That’s my Grandpa. It’s the little things that add up to be the measure of a man.
Geodes and scientific explanations and t-shirts printed with wildlife. Watches and spotless shoes and a garage all in place. Western novels and handkerchiefs and knives for your pockets. Cheesy jokes and Fudgesicles and meals always eaten on time. Expressive blue eyes and flashing white smile and skin warmed with a tan. Genealogies and Japanese swords and stories from the South. Anxious thoughts and tender worry and his heart on the line. Tight hugs and little gifts and words whispered with love.
Precise. Tender. Sarcastic. Faithful. Strong. Anxious. Generous. Orderly. Quiet. Funny. Simple. Loving. Sincere.
That’s my Grandpa.
When I try to put my finger on the core of who he was I settle on a man who lived out faithfulness to the Lord through serving his family. My memories of him over the years are always enveloped in the kind of unconditional love that gives you confidence, the kind of love that is quiet and yet so pervasive that it squeezes in around everything life brings and gives you a safe place to land.
When Grandpa slipped me another turquoise Swiss Army knife because green was my favorite color, or listened so intently to me explain, at length, the 7 Colors of Gravity (which totally made sense in my head when I was seven), or expressed his worry over my safety, or shared with all his “girls” things dear to his heart (mostly scientific in nature) he sowed so many seeds of love.
As a young child I didn’t understand that not everyone was given this gift or that living under its warmth and breathing in its life shapes you, like a tree planted in fertile soil under the life-giving sun. However, with each generation and new branch of our family stretching out I can see that legacy of love unfolding. It’s a legacy that is far from perfect but one that is steeped in commitment and generosity and more than a little humor. It’s the little things that add up to be the measure of a man and ultimately a family.
Grandpa’s quiet love and little acts of service laid a firm and rich soil, in which our family continues to grow. I am grateful to have been his granddaughter, and daughter of his son, and mother of his great-grandsons and blessed to take part in his legacy of faith and family and really corny jokes.