My Great Grandpa John recently died and I was asked to write a little
something to be read at his funeral. This is what I came up with.
100 years old. A Centenarian. That is amazing. I think we can all agree
to round up to 100 because saying "My Great Grandpa was 99.9 years old"
just doesn't sound as nice. But that's just me because I like to tell
tall tales. But Grandpa John didn't need to make things up because he
had so many unbelievable stories come from his own life. Like the story
of him being a hobo and hopping trains from Montana to California
looking for jobs. These types of stories are not common these days. He
truly lived in a different time.
I think there is a reason he lived to be 100. He was a very disciplined
and steadfast person and helping others seemed to come very naturally to
him. I believe his daily routine of exercise and practicing the violin
along with volunteering to play for others are what kept him going. Of
course, if you were to ask him he might say it was vitamins and garlic
pills that kept him healthy.
I always enjoyed having him around during family holidays. One of my
favorite parts was after we all sat down and enjoyed a nice home cooked
meal he would always say, "That was the best meal I've ever had!" And I
believe he meant it. He seemed to approach life with a very genuine
thankfulness. After the meal after we had all settled down in the living
room he would take out his violin and do a mini concert for us. I loved
the way he would announce an introduction for each song. "This is an old
tune I learned back in 1942". And then he would begin to play the piece
as if he were in front
of a large audience. He loved to play no matter how many people were
listening. I especially enjoyed the times he played Christmas songs with
my mom on piano and my husband on guitar. Playing music seemed to unlock
his youthfulness. Once he picked up his violin and you set a piece of
music in front of him he really seemed to come alive.
I remember when we asked him to play his violin at our wedding 5 years
ago. He was so humbly honored and couldn't believe we wanted him to
play. Who wouldn't want their 95 year old grandpa to play at their
wedding? He practiced so intently and really wanted to do his best. He
was all the talk of our friends afterwards. It was an especially amazing
ending to our wedding day to have him spontaneously begin playing a hoe
down arrangement of songs as we exited the church through a pathway of
bubbles into our waiting limo. It's a moment my husband and I still talk
about today and will always remember.