As you know (if you’ve been reading the blog for a while) the farmhouse we’re living in has been in my family for a while now. My grandparents (Kenny & Peg) raised their family in this big, ol’ farmhouse. And before them my great-grandparents (Roy & Verna Belle) raised my grandpa and my great uncle in this very same farmhouse.
I spent countless hours in this farmhouse and its surrounding yards, fields, and woods during my childhood. I have spent every Christmas morning of my entire life (33 years) in this house. My brothers and cousins and I panned for gold in the crick (or is it creek?), played kickball under the trees, smashed old slate pieces behind the original milk house, started a club house on the upper level of the old pig barn, picked berries in the orchard, played make-believe in the barn and the surrounding out buildings, swam in the pool and pretended the camper was our home, played home-run derby in the driveway (don’t knock out a barn window!) and all around had a totally kick ass childhood.
And during all those fun times there was always one person there encouraging us. The patriarch of our family and all around most honest and genuine man who has ever walked planet earth – my grandpa Kenny.
Me and Grandpa (early 1980s)
Grandpa passed away three years ago on March 22. He was 93-years-old. And my goodness – what a life he lived!
He was a truck driver, a dairy farmer, a school bus driver, a deputy sheriff, and a volunteer fire fighter. He was involved with farm bureau and the fair board and all kinds of other stuff. He was a man who cared deeply about his community and his family. He was one of my heroes.
He colored the best Easter eggs, made the best Christmas chocolates, and if you ever asked him what we were having for supper he was guaranteed to say, “Snake eyes fried in skunk grease!”
He sang the same soothing lullaby to all of us and one day I will sing it to my own daughter. “Grandma-ma. Grandpa-pa. Grandma-ma-ma-ma-grandpa-pa. Ma-ma-ma. Da-da-da. Ma-ma-ma-ma-da-da-da.”
He taught me about honesty and hard work and making do with what you’ve got. He taught me how to look out for my family and instilled in me a love for them and our family traditions that runs so deep I honestly don’t even know who I am without them. And I certainly don’t know who the heck I’d be without him.
I like to think that Mike and I are making my grandpa proud in this big, ol’ farmhouse. We’re on a journey to bring it back to life and I know that he’s with us every step of the way.