My eulogy for Grandpa P:


If you had spent a day with Grandpa P, to be sure it would have started early. During summers when my sister and I stayed with our grandparents we would often hear the creak of the wood floors my Grandpa installed himself in their little, slate blue Victorian before the sun was up. Coffee brewing, seasonal fruit being sliced and arranged atop cottage cheese, cereal from one of his seven open boxes tinkling into the blue and white bowls, the scrape of the chairs being pushed in. And then the sound of my Grandpa’s low, rumbling, steady voice reading. Breakfast always started with a devotional reading, usually from Our Daily Bread, Scripture reading and then prayer. Never just a “Thank you for this food, Amen” prayer. It was a time of genuine reflection and seeking God … long enough to have everyone else at the table making eyes at each other or trying to stay awake! It didn’t matter whether it was just Grandpa and Grandma, or if it included a couple of surly, woken-too-early teenage girls or on our recent trip, two wiggly toddlers. Grandpa started the day with God and you were welcome to join him.

The day might include mowing the lawn, a project up in his hot unairconditioned woodshop, a ride on his SPYDER, a talk with his neighbor, or a trip in his boat. At some point in the afternoon I’d find my way over to the ceramic cow “cookie” jar and try to open it as quietly as possible in order to stealthily extract an Oatmeal Crème Pie, a Peanut Cluster or a Nutty Bar (whichever Little Debbie was on hand because there was always a supply).  If Grandpa was around, he’d gladly indulge with me because the sneaking was all to avoid my health-conscious mom, not my treat-loving, pretzel-munching Grandpa.

Grandpa’s day always included two things: time in his chair reading a good book and helping someone. At 91 Grandpa P never stopped moving and he never stopped helping others. It is part of who he is and what he believes. My early memories of my grandparents involve letters from my Grandma detailing their adventures traveling across the US in their RV, while volunteering at organizations. When my grandparents would visit us in Ecuador they didn’t spend their days in easy chairs. My Grandma would jump into teaching VBS or tutoring a struggling kid and my Grandpa would head over to the hangar to work alongside the mechanics. They reinforced this value in their kids and their grandkids. When I decided to spend a summer in Scotland on a missions trip Grandpa P was the first to right me a check to help with the trip. They were also the ones to call every boot-selling store in the area to find the approved workboot and they were willing to drive 3 hours with a bag full of Pringles and, of course, Little Debbies to watch my commissioning service before my first flight.

Grandpa P was a man of few words but his callused hands and the miles on his RV, his truck, his motorcycle spoke volumes. He believed that Jesus loved him and that Jesus loved every person in this world enough that we should spend our lives caring for them and telling them about who Jesus’ is.  For as much as my Grandpa loved to blast his boat across the ocean waters or go on a ride with his motorcycle buddies, he loved God even more. I couldn’t be more proud of the example my Grandpa gave to each of us of a life well-lived.

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