Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Grandpa

Today would be my grandpa's 93rd Birthday.

My grandpa was one of the sweetest people I have ever met in my entire life.
My grandpa was not afraid to show emotion,
it was not uncommon to see my grandpa cry.
When he was happy,
or sad,
or disappointed.

I love that about him.
My grandfather was the son of Polish immigrants.
Like many in his generation, he didn't have the opportunity to finish school.
He went to work in a factory and worked there his entire life.
In his whole life he only had one job.
He worked his way up the ranks.

In the 1980s, that company went through a restructuring.
They offered all of the "old timers" nice retirement packages.
They replaced them with young guys with college degrees.
My grandpa was still fairly young.
Most of his friends were not yet retired.
My mom went back to work
and my grandpa babysat for me :)
He also learned to make a mean Sauerbrauten :)
And he baked babka from scratch :)
A few years after his "forced retirement",
the wire and cable factory where he had worked all of his life,
called him up and said that they NEEDED him back.
None of the young college guys could run the machines like my grandpa could.
The young college guys knew how to crunch numbers,
but they didn't know how to motivate people, work with people, manage people with complex lives.

There is a lot to be said for experience.

My grandpa went back to work.
September 1991
When I think of my grandpa,
I think of him saying, "Hiya"
I think of how much he 
my grandmother.
He had her on such a pedestal.
I think of how he would laugh at all of my jokes.
I think of how he loved baseball.
I think of how he loved fishing,
he said he would spend that time alone with God.
I think of how he prayed the rosary on his knees every afternoon next to his bed.
I think of how he worked two jobs to send my uncle to college.
I think of the legendary family story 
about a guy he worked with named
I think of how he always liked me to tell the story
of the first time I took
Jason to Mass with me.

I think of a kind, gentle man, who was not afraid to show his family how much he loved them, how much he cared for them.  A man who was not embarrassed to cry or show emotion.  A man who valued honesty and integrity above all else.  A man who was selfless rather than prideful, who was giving rather than greedy, who was forgiving and patient and loving and kind.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!
We miss & love you!!