Lessons learned from grandpa


I came home and noticed a campfire under the pine trees. Well, it’s not exactly my home; it just feels like it.

During our visits to Ohio, when we spend time with Daniel’s family, we stay in the same house that was his home during our courtship. It is packed with fond memories of Daniel and his entire family. I especially treasure the times we’d sit around the living room singing.

Daniel’s sister Mary and two brothers, who now live there, welcome us whenever we need a getaway, which ends up several times a year.

We just came home from spending a little over a week there.

This past visit proved to be a blessing. I especially enjoyed spending time with Daniel’s grandparents. At 90 years old, they have racked up more experience and wisdom than I could tell.

On this evening, Mary had made a delicious supper of mashed potatoes, gravy, meatloaf, and corn on the cob over an open fire. If you know anything about little boys and corn on the cob, you can imagine how pleased they were and how happy mom was to be eating outside, for that matter. The children found spots to eat while I lined up five plates and filled them for the children. “Julia, you may get your own plate.” (Amazing, children do grow up! I can just hear you say, “They grow up so fast!” I know, I know. Some days are just longer than others.)

We enjoyed a relaxing time together and planned to save our dessert for a bedtime snack. Several days before, Mary had promised to make their latest smoothie slushies for us to try.

An hour or two later, the children were all scrubbed and in their pajamas; we gathered around the fire and watched the glowing flames. Soon Mary came with a tray of 11 glasses of slushies.

I smiled and relaxed even more. How delicious. A fire to enjoy and food minus the responsibility of preparing it!

Not only that but by now, Daniel’s Grandparents had joined us. Grandpa was soon reminiscing of bygone years and telling the children stories of when their daddy was a little boy.

We smiled as he related his all-time favorite story of how Daniel wanted to go with him groundhog hunting when he was a young boy. Grandpa consented. Daniel, as a little boy, was enthralled with going along to help control these rodents, which were densely populated pests. With time Grandpa let him take a turn shooting. Once when they were out in an open field, Daniel exclaimed, “There’s a groundhog!”


“Over there!” the young lad pointed.

“I can’t see it, but you may shoot,” he said, expecting Daniel to have misjudged his groundhog for a pile of dirt.

Moments later, Daniel was sprinting over to where he had shot and triumphantly picked up the dead groundhog.

After this scenario occurred again, Grandpa decided Daniel had trailed him long enough and was safe to go alone. Not only that, Grandpa wasn’t hunting enough to suit Daniel. So Grandpa made a deal with him; he said he’d stay home and reload the cartridges then Daniel could go on his own.

I savored the moment as the children listened and the fire grew dim. Just as their daddy, who is now in heaven, learned many things by trailing his grandpa, they can learn from him even today. He shared more life lessons and encouraged them to obey Mom.

You know, age adds its challenges to life, yet a beauty all the same. Grandma, who remains very close to my heart, said, “I don’t hear as well as I used to and he (Grandpa) doesn’t speak as plainly as he did.” And yet I couldn’t help but be in awe over that simple statement- after 70 years of marriage, they are still working together, even when it’s not all easy!

If you’re like me, your dreams have been shattered before you hit that 50 or 70-anniversary mark. It’s real, I know. I was deeply moved by a conversation between my dad and a gentleman whose wife left him over 30 years ago. There was no trace of bitterness or anger against the unfortunate situation in his life. Perhaps I have some more homework to do in my own heart. Those little rights to feel deprived come slipping in without being invited and you know what? So far they haven’t been able to help me a bit!

Before we end our chat, I’d love for you to have Mary’s recipe for the slushies she served us.


2 cups frozen peaches or strawberries

2 tablespoons sugar or sweetener of your choice

2 (12 ounce) cans sprite (or sparkling water*) divided

Place fruit, sweetener, and Sprite into a blender. Blend until smooth. Fill glasses 2/3 full then add soda. Fill glasses with soda and gently stir with a spoon. Drink immediately and be prepared to be refreshed.

*Mary prefers using white grape sparkling water in her slushies

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