Lessons from My Grandfather

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Here are some of the things my PawPaw taught me:

Never go to bed angry.  He told me he and Grammy sometimes stayed up all night, but they never broke this rule.

Working crossword puzzles keeps the mind sharp.

Get a job!  This was his advice to me when I went to college.  He said I’d be better at studying well if I didn’t have every minute of every day in which I could study.  It was better to have just a few hours during which studying was imperative.

The very presence of eggnog makes Christmas more festive!

Have an electric train around the base of your Christmas tree.

Dance with your spouse round the living room.  (My son reminded me that they’re now dancing together on golden streets.)

Grammy and PawPaw on their wedding day

Grammy and PawPaw on their wedding day

When a man loves his wife, she stays beautiful in his eyes even when she changes with age.

Be content with few possessions.  Your relationships make you rich!

Read the Bible in its entirety.  Now read it again!

Bless every meal, no matter how chaotic the family gathering.

Make cloudlike pallets on the living room floor, and tuck the children in tightly before regaling them with stories of your youth.

Sternness, if there is lots of love in it, can feel very safe.

Ice cream every night doesn’t always lead to weight gain or high cholesterol.

Cereal is best with fruit on top.

Surprise your family members with Sunday visits!  (The most wonderful days were when PawPaw and Grammy would show up unannounced—so Mama wouldn’t feel the need to clean house—and go to church with us.)

For a little girl, there is nothing quite like a trip to the science museum with her grandpa.

A man surrounded by books is never bored.

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There is great joy to be found in Big Band music!

Cherish your spouse, even after death separates you.

Grownup children still need a loving father.  (And grownup grandchildren still need a loving grandfather.)

Live every day with integrity.

A place for everything, and everything in its place

A little boy who loses his father can grow up to be an exemplary father.

The manliest men know how to scramble delicious eggs and prepare the best rice and gravy.

Make your family your priority!

Hard boiled eggs floating in water inside a mason jar and piles of chocolate bars are a picture of grandfatherly love.

It is thrilling to little children if you’ll keep a second fridge, stocked with soda pop, in the garage.

Be generous.

Be responsible.

Plan ahead.

Don’t throw things away.  Having lived through the Great Depression, PawPaw never took a mason jar or a plastic bag for granted.

Write long letters to your family members, especially to commemorate momentous occasions.

When you are living well, the ticking of a clock in the living room and in the study is comforting.

Bless others with your hobbies.  (I cherish the China cabinet he made with his woodworking tools in his own garage.  My son has many a coin PawPaw gave him.)

Build a home, a family, upon a solid faith in God.

Thank God, the provider of all, for every gift in your life.