Saturday, April 17, 2010

Grandpa Paul

Wow, has it really been 10 whole days away. It seems like it was just 9 and a half. I would apologize if I felt I needed to but I do not feel that way. Seems that sometimes life just jumps in and ruins a daily blog post. It is really too bad because I actually had a fair amount of material over the last 10 days. I missed the anniversary of the passing of both my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother on the 10th and 11th. Both of them had great influences on my life and my views and I have thought about them many times over the last ten days.

I will take today’s post to talk about Grandpa Paul. With as much resistance as I offered Grandpa Paul still had so much to do with my outlook on life and who I am. I guess it was not really resistance as much as it was our different generations added to us both probably resisting the ideas of the other at times. As I grew older I came to understand and agree with his views much more often. As a teen I viewed my grandfather as someone old fashioned, cautious, afraid of risk.

As I came to be an adult that view totally changed. I do not think a cautious man barely out of high school signs up to serve his country in a time of war. You cannot be afraid of risk and become a pilot of a 55,000 pound bomber and fly it at over 200 m.p.h. Old fashioned people do not sell a dairy and pick up a family in Idaho and move to the eastern Washington desert hoping to make a better life based solely on water and land.

I was pretty lucky as a kid. So many kids only get to see their Grandfather annually or a few times a year. For my first 18 years there was seldom a day that passed I did not get to see Grandpa Paul. He was always teaching and he mostly led by example. Grandpa knew so much about so many different things. The house I live in now was designed and built by him. He was always about practicality. Things had to have a purpose, a reason, nothing was ever done just for show. When people I know talk about him there seems to be few but very common descriptions. Hard working, salt of the earth, honest and a “good man” are often terms people use to describe him.

Grandpa was a big man, over 6 feet tall, big shoulders, strong as an ox and he knew it. He sometimes ruled with a somewhat “iron fist” but he also could be as gentle as a tame bear. I think every grandchild was swung by his large arms in his “swing” as he would recite his poem about going up in the swing so high. For me grandpa was a great moderator between Dad and I. Once as a teen my family was at a wedding reception. My folks left early and I was allowed to stay longer and come home with Grandma and Grandpa. Well, some other kids forced (well that’s the way I remember it) me to try hard liquor for the first time. I can still get the dry heaves to this day from the smell of Southern Comfort. Anyway, I ended up crashed on the floor and had to be poured into my grandparent’s car. Luckily I spent the night at their house and woke up the next morning actually feeling not so bad physically but scared as hell.

I walked into my grandparents kitchen with my head hung low that morning. Grandma Sally only had one concern and that was did I want eggs, bacon, toast, fried taters or any combination of the four. Grandpa Paul had a deeper concern. I remember exactly what he said to this day. “Junior you did a bad thing last night. Your parents trusted you and let you stay at the party and then you got drunk and stupid. I am sure that your parents will give you sufficient punishment, but we need to find a way to tell your Dad. You certainly deserve some punishment but your Dad is going to want to kill you and that is probably too harsh.” LOL, I took Grandpas advice and was straight up with Dad and told him what had happened. He was not happy but I am still alive so it ended well as could be expected.

Grandpa Paul was a never ending source of humor. His down to earth ways and absolutely blatant, and I do mean blatant, honesty would often translate into some gem that can still make me laugh many years later. I will tell a few of those stories in a later post. Thanks for your patience with me and my missed posts. I am going to focus this week and try and be here daily.

Today’s real environmentalist species is something I did not know existed at all yet alone on the ranch. I spotted a new bird last week and with some research found out just what it was. The bird is the downy woodpecker aka

Picoides pubescens.

Today’s picture is something I took awhile back that reminded me of my Grandfather.