Saturday, January 14, 2006

Goodnight, Grandpa

This weekend, Kenneth Guier, my grandfather, passed away. Ken lived a very long, very happy life. He went peacefully in his sleep after a difficult battle with Alzheimers and failing health.

For Christmas this year, just like every year, Grandpa and Grandma Viola bought us a Jackson and Perkins gift card. We bought a large amarylis with the gift card, and Christmas came and went, and the flowers hadn't bloomed.

On Saturday morning, I got up early and sneaked up to the computer before anyone else was up. (Even Eddie). I read Uncle Bobby's email about Grandpa's passing. It hit me hard. That was when Eddie sneaked up to see me, and I explained it to him. I could barely do it. Then, I gathered myself together to go downstairs to make breakfast for everyone, and that amarylis was blooming.

Kenneth was a sailor, a proud veteran, a boy scout leader, a gardener, a carpenter, a hunter, a fisherman, a lover of Elvis Presley (only after the war!), a great-grandfather to thirteen, a grandfather to eight, a father to three, and a husband to Viola and Evelyn Guier.

There are so many memories of Grandpa. I only have to say a few key words and some of you will know what I mean:

  • Little bottles of Coke
  • M&Ms
  • Eskimo Pies
  • Jumps
  • El Caminos
  • Snapping Turtles
  • Duke
  • Dobie
  • Roses
  • Horse Eating Corn
  • Cowboy Boots
These are all shared memories we have of Grandpa and the lives we shared together. He was the cornerstone of all of our lives.

Michael had one really great memory, which I'd like to share. Remember Grandpa's retirement party, when we bought him that big ol' recliner? He loved that recliner--sat in it all the time. Well, Grandpa was a lot of things, but he wasn't always the most patient person when it came to dealing with rambuncious boys, and Mike and I were as rambuncious as they come! Mike, who was probably about ten, came up behind Grandpa's recliner one day, being wild, and pulled on the back of the chair--not knowing that Grandpa was sitting in it. The chair tipped clean over backwards with Grandpa still in it--his boots stickin' up in the air, the pant legs of his overalls fallen up to his knees. He looked like an Apollo astronaut, ready for take-off.

I think Mike must have been a pretty fast runner, because he's still here with us today.

Grandpa always lived life to its fullest, loving his family deeply, showing it through his enormous generosity of time and self. He was an exceptional man.

Right now, in heaven, he's probably got his cowboy boots back on and is sitting with a fishing line dropped in that catfish-hole up in the sky, chewing some unsuspecting person's ear off. Yes, heaven's quite a bit more colorful, now that Grandpa is up there!

Grandpa, we love you, and we miss you.

See you on the other side.

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