Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Birthday Tribute: My Grandpa

                                                  L to R: my cousin Ryan, brother Noah, Grandpa and myself on my birthday

Today is my grandpa's birthday.
He was born on the winter solstice; his mother declaring it both the longest day of her life and thankfully, the shortest of the year.  

As a young man he was a gymnast and throughout my childhood was able to demonstrate his amazing abilities. 
He was in the Navy and served 4 years in the Korean War.  He has some amazing stories from his travels abroad! 
He married my grandma just a few short years before my birth...and embraced us all as his family.
Kind-  Loves babies and children, a caregiver to animals and to those who are sick,  a quiet man of great strength.
Loving- I never saw him leave the house- not once- without kissing my grandmother good-bye.   

Gentleman- Grandpa gets very put out if a lady (or even a little girl) opens their own car door.  He always opens my doors.  He also expects other men to treat ladies the same.

Humorous- He is always ready with a joke or funny story.  Always one to cheer you up and never one to feel sorry for himself.

Creative- This man is a great artist.  He carves, builds, gardens, makes beautiful knives, paints amazing pictures.  

Humble-  Grandpa worked at the mill for as far back as I can recall and retired from there.  He worked the graveyard shift and made a humble living.  He ate the same lunches in the same black lunchbox.  He made use of his free time working on hobbies with my grandmother.  He was never an idler or a complainer.

Honorable- Grandpa sets an example of honesty and integrity in all he does.   He is a man born of the heroes generation.

I cannot possibly convey the depth of my feelings for this man.  There are so few like him.  How many men today can list even that small portion of his attributes I listed above?  

I think of the past few times I've been able to make my way to Oregon to see them.   I am greeted with pure, unconditional love and treated like a queen in their home.   As I leave,  tears are shed- my grandpa unafraid to show his emotions- and my last view is the same as it has been my entire life: 
Grandpa and Grandma framed by their doorway, leaning on the little half-gate screen door; waving and smiling and calling "goodbye." 

He is and always will be, my true grandfather.  And nowhere in this world is there a girl luckier than I.  

James Hamilton Cline- a little girl's (and big girl's !) hero.

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