My Grandpa, Frank Anderson, passed away last week. He was 91 years old, and, if you can believe it, was still living on his own, driving and working. On Friday, he got up, ate breakfast, got dressed and drove to church where he did finances. I’m sure he didn’t expect to die that day, but what a way to go: faithfully serving God at the church he had attended for over 60 years!
Grandpa was amazingly kind and gentle. I looked up to him. When I think back over my time with Grandpa, a few memories stick out to me….
One summer, my mom was teaching a class and so Grandpa would pick up my brothers and me once a week to babysit while mom was teaching. Grandpa, though, was no ordinary babysitter. We didn’t just play in the yard or watch cartoons, Grandpa took us on adventures. One week we went to Shireland (an amusement park of sorts that featured Shire horses) and once to Kiddieland (a more traditional amusement park). There were also local festivals where he would buy us funnel cakes, and a waterpark or two. I always looked forward to having Grandpa as our babysitter.
Grandpa was a class act and always a gentleman. So, in turn, he expected me to act like a proper young lady. One evening, Grandma and Grandpa were at our house for dinner. I was running around screaming and chasing my brother. And I distinctly remember thinking, “I am such a cool and fun girl! Look at me acting crazy! (because that’s what cool, fun girls do)” And so I asked Grandpa, “don’t you just love me????” He very calmly looked at me and said, “not when you’re acting like this, young lady.” I don’t think any other words could have straightened me up more quickly.
On my wedding day, Grandpa hugged me so tight, like he always did, kissed my cheek and whispered “I love you” into my ear. He then hugged Nathan tight and handed him a jewelry box that contained a pair of airplane cufflinks. Grandpa was the kind of man who owned cufflinks. And Grandpa knew that a fellow pilot needed airplane cufflinks on his wedding day so, he generously lent a pair of his own for Nathan to wear. At the end of the day, as a surprise to us, Grandpa decided that Nathan could keep the cufflinks. I think it was his way of welcoming Nathan into the family.
I will greatly miss my Grandpa. My life has been better for having him in it. I am so grateful to know that he is not only reunited with my Grandma, but that they are worshipping Jesus together once again.