On All Pro Dad, Tony Dungy recently posted memories of his grandfathers. Watching his thoughts prompted my own. I was fortunate to know both of my grandfathers growing up and have great memories being with them.
Grandpa M – Grandpa M was a farmer. When I entered this world, he was retired from living on the farm yet was still active in helping out his sons as they worked their own land. I have no doubt about his strong work ethic, as he managed to raise seven kids and manage a productive farm through some difficult times.
One of my memories of him is eating supper at their home, from time-to-time, after school. In his kind way, he always put a teaspoon of sugar in our milk to help it go down a little sweeter and easier. It was his secret way, I believe, of showing he cared for us since Midwestern farmers aren’t a bundle of outward affection.
Grandpa M always showed strength in his approach but, at those special suppers, he let his guard down and his tenderness showed through.
Grandpa K – Grandpa K was a Lutheran pastor, and his last church stood in the middle of a Kansas wheat field. He had a special mission to serve this rural community, and I believe he did it well.
When we visited, I always went with him for his rounds. The rounds were to visit people in nursing homes or in the remote farms surrounding the area. Those visits were special moments for me in that I saw how my grandpa ministered to the shut-ins and people who may have skipped church once too often.
His gentle voice and approach with everyone he met showed his faith more than anything. I wish he was alive today so we could talk about religion, faith, prayer, and general questions about God. When we visited, I was way too young to be able to form any intelligent questions, but know I would thoroughly enjoy his insights and thoughts today. Instead, and gratefully, I have heartfelt memories of driving with him through the gravel roads of Kansas, visiting and caring for people within his reach.
Grandparents deliver something special to their kids’ kids; it is an important inspirational ingredient which makes our families and communities work better.