12 September, 2017

A Legacy Worth Sharing

After a long fight with congestive heart failure, we lost my grandfather today. It is hard to imagine a world without him. He taught me so many valuable lessons about life. I learned from him that quiet kindness was the sort of legacy we should leave behind in this life. That risks are worth taking, especially if there is fun to be had, or if life or love are at stake. I watched him make a difference in his community. He never took himself too seriously, but was serious about caring for others, especially his family.

He swung me too high on the porch swing, singing "Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot" to me all the while. A veteran, he had been to Korea, and traveled through Japan. His stories had me hanging on every word. His mother is my namesake. A couple of years ago, he grew the largest watermelon I've ever seen, and when I was a child we would sit on the picnic table beneath a shady oak tree on stifling summer afternoons, eating melons and spitting seeds as afternoon storms would roll in, and he would tell me the angels were bowling. His hands made lovely things, chairs and cleared valleys and bows and arrows and kites and fishing poles, and they showed love and compassion, each thing a fabric square providing texture to the crazy quilt of my childhood. It was all these things, and a million others, peppermint in a pocket, a night spent sleeping in a room built just for me in a house hewn from his hands and time and love, an arm around my shoulder, eyes that always managed to see the absolute best in me.

These are all just snapshots, microcosmic pieces of a macrocosm of a life that I enjoyed the chance to be part of. They can never convey everything about this man, the love he poured into me, the full spectrum of who he was and the value he held in the hearts of those who knew him. I can offer these relics, though, placed in the glass case museum of my mind, and displayed for you here, to hopefully share in the joy that was knowing him.