Monday, 7 May 2012

Grandpa Herman...a gentleman

As I have said before, sometimes the goal of a post that I write is simply to document a little bit about people in my life. Hopefully it will help someone someday down the road to feel a connection with their ancestors. So today I am thinking about Grandpa Herman. He was the father to my Dad. Grandpa Herman was born in 1902 and married my grandmother when he was 19 years old. One of my sisters were born the same day as was his birthday so it was quite special to her that she shared a birthday with Grandpa. Grandpa Herman passed away in 1974, also after a courageous battle with cancer.
I often think that it is in the moments when we think no one is watching us that we do things that people will remember us for. That is exactly the case with my Grandpa Herman. He was a gentleman and I know it to be true because as a young girl I saw him treat his wife ( my Grandma ) with kindness. Here is what I saw. Grandpa and Grandma only came to visit us in our home very very seldomly, but I will never forget this one particular time. They were getting a bit elderly already, they came with their old pickup truck. So in order to help Grandma get in and out of the truck, Grandpa kept a small step stool in the back of the truck. He would open the door of the truck and carefully placed the step stool at the entrance to the truck and lovingly help Grandma in and out of the truck. We all know how a man will treat his girlfriend or young wife as a queen in the early days but this was not the early days for them but Grandpa took care of her as though it was. When I think about Grandpa Herman, this is the mark he left on my life.
I remember Grandpa Herman as a quiet man with a soft voice. He was of a small build, a slender face and always wore denim overalls. I do not remember ever seeing him dressed up in a suit ( though pictures do show him dressed in a suit.) In the earlier years he drove a very old model truck but later in life he drove a beige colored Ford 196? shortbox pickup truck. I remember that truck pretty well since my Dad bought that particular truck at Grandpa's auction and so we used it around the farm at home. I would use it while fixing fences and the dog was always glad to catch a ride with me. Lots of memories with Grandpa's truck.
We would visit Grandpa and Grandma regularly for family get-togethers but then I would spend my time with my cousins there. Things were different though when it was just our family there to visit. Grandpa Herman never travelled much ( other than some time spent in Mexico and then the journey to Paraguay that the Mennonites made) but I'm thinking perhaps he would have liked to see the world. He would get out his special viewmaster and reels to go with it and allow me and my sisters to see his pictures. That made me feel special also. The viewmaster was one of his treasures.
Times were tough for Grandpa Herman trying to raise a family in the 1930's. There was a terrible drought here in Canada in the 1930's known as the "dirty thirties" when it became very hard to make a living. My Dad sometimes spoke of  how it was so dry that  the dust would blow around and form drifts sort of like in a snowstorm. I also know that tragedy hit Grandpa and Grandma's home when their son Herman died when he was just 17 years old.  My Dad had a picture of this brother Herman. I can only  imagine the pain of losing your precious child at the age of 17 and how hard it would be to move forward from such a heartbreaking event.  But Grandpa Herman was a person of faith, living his life for the Lord Jesus. So knowing that,  I know that God will have provided the strength needed for them to smile again. After all Jesus did come to heal the brokenhearted as it says in Luke 4:18 - 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

I have good memories of Grandpa Herman and precious indeed.

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