Our prayer and God's mercy are like two buckets in a well; while the one ascends the other descends. - Mark Hopkins
I don't know if he always intended it to be a prayer or if he cried out for mercy as involuntarily as a sailor swears at the sea. No matter the situation: good, bad, frustrating, joyful, Granddad always asked for mercy. This past Tuesday, April 5th, he was granted mercy.
This past fall Matt, Weston and I went to visit him with my Aunt Susan and Nana. After helping him sit down, Susan said to him, "Look Dad, it's baby." His response, "Well I'll be damned." I chuckled a little, glad that Weston could brighten his day, even if just for a fleeting moment. That was the last time I saw my Granddad.
Though what I remember most about Granddad are the little things throughout my life... and the not so little things.
He served us, he scolded us, he taught us.
He mixed me my first drink, a "Granddad Special." It was special-- it had cherries in the bottom! As children, my cousins and I climbed the swiveling bar stools and sat on our knees to peer over the rounded bar in the basement-- Granddad on the other side tending it. He mixed a little bit of this with a little bit of that, added two cherries and served us a round of Granddad specials. They were gone in a matter of seconds; our arms stretched out for another, we usually got it.
The playhouse in the backyard had a low sloping roof. We were not allowed to climb the roof-- makes sense now, but back then Granddad got so mad when he caught us climbing the playhouse roof. So we made sure to stay just below the peak of the roof so not to be seen. I don't know why we climbed the roof. Maybe it was just to see if we could get away with it.
I know he just wanted the best for us-- when he wasn't mixing drinks or scolding us for doing something stupid, he was always trying to teach us something: silly German Songs about a musician, respecting our elders-- especially military service men and women, Civil War history during a road trip, and even how to ride a bike.
Nana was at the beauty shop getting her hair done, when Granddad took the training wheels off of my bike. By the time she got home, I was a two wheel rider! I don't remember him holding my seat or giving me any sort of pep talk, but I remember he was there. He knew I could do it (otherwise he wouldn't have taken off my training wheels), and maybe just knowing that he had faith in me gave me the courage to ride my bike sans training wheels.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Even though we will miss him, he will always be with us because he helped mold us into the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren we are today.