A Tribute To Our Grandpa

On Christmas Grandpa told us that this would be his last one with us, and that we’d better enjoy it because he won’t be around next year. He said this over 20 years ago, and at every subsequent holiday or birthday we would spend with him. As a five year old when I first heard him say it, it probably freaked me out. Where was heaven? Why did my grandpa say he was going to live there? Oh the questions I probably asked my Mom and Dad. And while he continued to say his goodbyes on every high holy days or celebration, he continued to provide years of memories, wisdom, and gifts. Not physical gifts, all of us grandchildren got the same few dollars every birthday, but gifts that molded us and challenged us.

The first gift Grandpa gave us was security. I remember holding on tightly to him one of the first times we rode “thunder mountain” at Disney world. Or when I broke my arm on his back porch, him picking me up and loading me in the car to take me to the hospital. We always felt safe around him, because we knew he had our best interests in mind.

His second gift was the gift of value. When we would walk into the house to come visit,he would lean forward in his chair, smile big and call us by name. You could tell that he was genuinely was excited to see us.

His third gift was his Grandpa-isms.   When he would get excited his woo-hoo *** Finger to mouth*** “Holy Makeral” “This is awful” Noogies.   Many of these his grandkids have picked up and will continue to use.

His forth gift was authenticity. Grandpa was the same with everyone he interacted with. Sometimes too blunt, sometimes overusing his grandpa-isms, always honest, always real. When young people interact with authentic adults it gives them the freedom to do the same. Grandpa did that to people he interacted with.

His fifth gift was our Parents. If you have interacted with any of his children, our mom’s and dad’s, uncles and aunt’s. They are all different, and definitely their own persons, but they all have served as a model for us grandkids. And we know that model was greatly influenced by our grandfather.

The last and most important gift he gave us was Jesus. When my grandfather gave his life to Jesus as a young man, he changed our family tree. His children and grandchildren walk with the Lord, and the countless lives that have been touched by his and his children and grandchildren are a domino result of his decision to walk with Jesus. It is this gift that was the foundation to the other gifts that he gave us. Well, I don’t know if Jesus would want to take credit for the grandpa-isms. Either way, he blazed the trail that his children and grandchildren would walk, and by the grace of God his great grand-children and their children will do the same. Grandpa left a legacy, one that I am proud to be part of.

Two Christmas’s ago was the last Christmas I got to spend with my grandfather. And he again said that this would be his last Christmas and that we’d better enjoy it. I didn’t freak out like I did when I was 5. I responded with something like, “Maybe Grandpa… but the amount of Christmas’s we miss together, will pale in comparison to the amount of Christmas’s we spend together, when we both make it home.” I can’t wait to spend another holiday with my Grandpa, and he won’t make a threat that it is his last again.

by Adam (AJ) Swanson on behalf of himself, Pam, Christian, Steve, Joel, Melinda, Lindsey, David, Owen, Rachel, Tom, and Ashley

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