Monday, March 2, 2009

Love you, Grandpa

Last week, my grandpa passed away at the ripe old age of 86. He was quite an amazing man. As long as I can remember, he's always been a big, strong guy. As a kid, we would go camping and he was always the expert. At everything. He could cook in a dutch oven, fish, snowmobile, build a fire, sharpen a knife, and pitch a tent. One of my favorite things he would do for the grand kids when we were camping was helping us ride the pine trees. For those of you that have read other blog posts referencing this, basically, my grandpa would grab the top of a small tree, put a kid in the branches, and let go and let us fly. It was pretty dang fun. Here's a couple of pictures.

The pictures are kinda dark, but you get the idea.

My favorite memories, though, are of Grandpa and Grandma at the condo in Island Park Village. I remember being pulled behind the snowmobiles in tubes, and watching grandpa get pulled on skis sometimes. I'm sure others tried it, but Grandpa is the only one I remember to ever do that.

I'm pretty sure that's me and McKay sitting on the back of the snowmobile.

Every time I think of the condo, I actually think of Grandpa and Grandma. They were such a huge part of those trips, that most camping, especially Yellowstone, makes me think of them.

I thought Grandma was especially brave to go snowmobiling with Grandpa, because he was so crazy on a snowmobile sometimes!

This may be my favorite picture of my grandpa and grandma.

I don't think he ever did anything that really scared her, though. He loved her so much and always told us how lucky he felt that she had said yes to such a shy guy as himself.

They also had this camper that they took on almost every camping trip I can remember. You had to hand crank it so the top would come up. I helped a few times and it was always enough to tire me pretty quick. I'd have to switch hands and take breaks. But Grandpa would get a kick out of putting us grandkids on the top of it before he started cranking, and up we would go. A few times, I remember jumping off before it got too high for me to even attempt it.

As Grandpa and Grandma got older, we didn't go camping quite as often, but still had a great time with them. He really loved having such a great legacy in his children and grandchildren, and wanted to make sure they understood how important family was. On several occasions, I was asked when I would bless Grandma and Grandpa with more great-grandchildren. Only after asking that did they then bug me about getting married. I always got a kick out of that.

Grandpa would tell us stories about growing up poor in Idaho--going huckleberry picking, catching a flying squirrel, kicking a badger in the butt as it chased a rabbit, riding horses, and taking care of cows--and even told stories about being in Germany in World War II. I remember him telling us about a camera he found once while in the Army. He said he liberated it from the Germans, so kept it and took a few pictures. He sent a few of those back home to Grandma.

I was lucky enough to get to read his war stories and even put them all together in a book for one of my senior projects in college. If you click that link, you'll really get a feel for what my grandpa was like. You'll also find out that he was one of the only survivors in his battalion in the Battle of the Bulge.

Grandpa kept giving us new stories as the years went on. It was usually at some family gathering, especially at Christmas. Our Christmas presents from Grandpa and Grandma for the last few years were stories that he had written down and copied for all of us.

I know this isn't my best blog post ever. I may not have been eloquent in what I've said, but I don't care. Mostly I miss my grandpa and I just wanted to share a few of my own stories and memories of him. I know where he is and I know they haven't had a hard worker like him in a while. I know I'll see him again. But I do miss him. I'll miss his smiling face and his great stories. Love you, Grandpa.

If you want to read my grandpa's obituary, you can click here. From that link, you can check out photos of my grandpa, and even view the video that played at his viewing. You can also read the guest book from the obituary posted in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News at those links. If you knew him, feel free to leave a little message.


tiburon said...

Aww Garrett - what a sweet tribute to your Grandpa. I am sorry for the loss :(

Hayley said...

i love this post. i think you did a fabulous job. i love the pictures & am glad i got to hear lots of the stories that went with the pictures last week as you were collecting them.

you're right... your grandpa left behind a legacy. what an amazing thing. you're honoring him in the way you live, and the way you love your family. i feel honored to be any part of it at all.

love the pictures of them snowmobiling. and i love the little boy garrett pictures.

Katey said...

I think this was your best post. What a great little memorial to your Grandpa. I'm sure he knows just how much you love him. Death of someone you love so much is hard but it's a darn good thing we know where he's at and you'll get to see him again one day!

TheFirstWard said...

Thanks for your post Garrett! You made tears come to my eyes and I can hardly see. I am at work and now I need to take a break to compose myself.

I will miss him too!

Jared said...

Nice job, Garrett! Thanks for putting all of the links to all of the stuff for grandpa in one place, that is really nice. I have a booklet that you made for your senior project, but I am glad to have a digital copy. I think I will work on writing my thoughts about grandpa later today. Thanks for this.