It was truly a joy yesterday as we celebrated my Grandpa's 90th birthday. He was feeling great, looking well, and sharp as a tack mentally, greeting the 40+ family members and more than 25 guests with smiles and hugs.
As we shared a family meal last night after the birthday festivities were over, some funny stories surfaced about Grandpa. Just a couple of weeks ago, arrangements had been made by my uncle in Arkansas (where Grandpa lives) for the airline to provide an escort for Grandpa to get from the plane to the baggage claim area where he was to meet my aunt. Grandpa's health has been suspect off and on over the last few years, so when he was wheeled up in a wheelchair, my aunt hugged him and ask him to point out his bags, expecting that she would grab them as they came by. When he pointed out one bag, Aunt Debbie reached for it, not realizing she was mistaken. Grandpa recognized her error, leaped from the chair, dove for the correct bag, handily lifted it from the conveyor belt, tossed it back to Aunt Debbie, and returned to the wheelchair. Aunt Debbie said the expressions on the faces of those around her clearly revealed that they'd seen a miracle! They certainly didn't expect to see an elderly man in a wheelchair exhibit such spunk!
After this story last night, requests were made for other anecdotes, at which point Grandpa rose. We all thought he was going to tell a story on himself. Instead, with great earnestness and seriousness of expression, he said, "I've had a wonderful time with all of you, and I've enjoyed seeing your faces and visiting with you immensely. But this party is digressing, so I think it's time for you to all go home!"
Before he could usher us out the door, though, another story had to be told. My aunt described the faithful leadership of Grandpa to lead his family in devotions and reading of Scripture as they grew up. Even Grandpa himself told me when he was here last Monday how they'd regularly worshiped together as family. On one particular night, after a long day of working in the garden, Grandpa had one child read from the Bible and then asked another child to read from the devotional guide. Grandpa traditionally closed the time in prayer. When it came Grandpa's turn, Grandma and all eight kids instinctively bowed their heads, waiting for him to address the Lord. Instead, what they heard from his spot on the couch was a long, loud snore!
It was at this point in the evening last night that Grandpa reminded us he'd recently made out his will and could certainly go home and change it.
Not shared yesterday (that should have been) was the Christmas when he and Grandma offered their bed to Uncle Dale and Aunt Dorothy, and they would in turn sleep in the guest room. While Grandpa and Uncle Dale played a late-night game of Risk, Grandma and Aunt Dorothy went to their beds. When the men finished their game, Uncle Dale stayed up to continue playing with some other night-owls, but Grandpa called it quits to go to bed. He got to the room, quietly removed his socks and shoes, pulled off his trousers and shirt, and softly crawled into bed. Rolling over to gently kiss Grandma good night, he found my Aunt Dorothy lying there with him instead! What Grandpa didn't know was that the women had changed their minds about the sleeping arrangements. Grandma was back in their bedroom and my aunt and uncle were to sleep in the guest room after all! Grandpa never again got dressed as quickly as he did that night.
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