Monday, January 17, 2011

Honoring a Man I Loved

I have always said that I never want to participate in speaking at a funeral.  I am a very emotional person and I never thought I would be able to get through a talk about someone I loved but this past week I had the opportunity to get up and say a few things about my Grandpa.  After the fact, I can honestly say that I felt it a privilege to honor my Grandpa.  Brandt and Michael both gave very beautiful prayers that were full of love and of the Spirit and Natalie played a piano solo that was, of course, gorgeous.  A day that I thought would be full of sadness and tears was full of wonderful stories about my Grandpa from the many people that travelled great distances to honor him.  It was a beautiful day to honor a beautiful man.
The talk I gave...
As grandkids we will always cherish our memories of time spent with Grandpa and Grandma. In the early years we spent the weekends at their home in Rose Park. We would ride our bikes around the block and pass the circus house, play croquet in the back yard, eat raspberries off the raspberry bushes in their garden, go for motorcycle rides with Grandpa, and sneak candy from the bottom drawer. As we got older Grandpa and Grandma would take us two at a time and visit destinations like Yellow Stone, Jackson Hole, and Mt. Rushmore. Grandpa taught us how Yellow Stone got its name, it’s because a bear pee’d on a rock. He also taught us the valuable lesson to never kick a buffalo pie. It may be hard and crusty on the outside but it’s soft and squishy on the inside. We spent many hours in the camper and truck traveling to their favorite places. We learned the names of wild flowers and finished many word search books. Grandpa’s love of traveling has taken them across thousands of miles of highway. In their hallway hangs a large map of the United States. Grandpa has marked every highway they have driven on. I think their biggest driving accomplishment was making the drive to Alaska and exploring the beauties of that area. I remember them telling us that they wrote down the number of miles they had driven on the back of their truck in the dirt and cars passing by would honk and give their congrats on their accomplishment for driving such a far distance. Every time he visited Natalie and Jay in Eastern Colorado he commented on how much he loved the country out that way. It reminded him of the time when he used to drive a truck. This past fall my parents were able to take my Grandparents to Yellowstone one last time. Something that I know my Grandpa appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.

The great-grandkids have loved spending time in Ephraim as well. They always look forward to riding the four wheelers and going past the tree where Grandpa once saw a bear. Grandpa carved his initials in a tree where he saw the bear and I’m pretty sure one day, when the tree falls down, we will cut the carving out of the tree and keep it here at the house. The kids love to explore the corral and shoot the bb guns. All the things we loved doing when we were younger.

Grandpa loved sitting on the porch watching the hummingbirds and listening to the wind blow through the trees. When he wasn’t on the porch he was taking Nippy for a ride on his four-wheeler, going for a walk up the canyon road, or on a day trip in the car with Grandma. He loved everything about nature and being a part of it. He loved taking his fishing boat out on Strawberry and fishing. I’m sure he and Grandma have caught thousands of fish through out the years. Brandt got to spend many birthdays on the mountain deer hunting with Grandpa, Dad, and Michael. Every year they planned their hunting trips and even though they didn’t always come home with a kill I know they enjoyed their time spent together.

Grandpa had a tough exterior. He expected much but also appreciated much. In the past few years he had expressed to me many times how proud he was of Dad. Proud of how much he has accomplished in his life and the wonderful family and wife he has. Grandpa taught Dad a strong work ethic that I believe Dad has passed on to us kids and I hope we are passing on the same Strong work ethic to our kids.

He also expressed to me his great love and appreciation for Grandma. What a good wife she has been to him all these years. He loved you very much Grandma and you are an amazing woman for being able to help sustain Grandpa these past few years. You never complained and did what you had to do to help Grandpa. We love you grandma for the love and compassion you showed grandpa. We appreciate the example you are to us and hope that in our marriages we can have the same love and commitment that you and Grandpa have had.

We would also like to give a special thank you to all those that have helped Grandpa and Grandma, especially Steve & Joyce Olsen and Milt Two. We appreciate the love and compassion and support you have shown our grandparents. We can’t express how much we appreciate your service and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We love you Grandpa and can’t wait until we see you again.