Grandpa

My Dad’s eulogy for his dad, my granddad:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

— Dylan Thomas

Dad raged against the dying of the light. He did not go peacefully.

Yet his entire life was one of live and let live. He wished no one harm and harmed no one.

He loved his family, his forest and trees, which he planted, his dogs, multiple generations which he borne and raised. He was a doer…he made things and made things work. Not always successfully, but ample enough to get the job done.

He ran a farm, a coal mine, worked for a corporation, and developed a wood business that never made money but kept him busy and sane.

img_1089.jpg

He loved his tools, his workshop, his freedom to do what he pleased. He ran wild with thoughts and feelings and work and enjoyed getting up every day of his life. It is to be envied.

He reveled in building his house, his farm, the pond, and making things (and us) work. Many are the morning I arose to his ‘get out of bed you lazy bones’. Coffee was on, the sun was rising, and trees needed to be cut, split, loaded, dumped for props for the mine, and stacked. Then we had the cows to milk, the chickens and pigs to feed, the milk to churn into butter, and the rock shot to do in the mine. But, we all bear our cross…

Dad never ran out of things to do, to fix and to talk about. He lived a full life, always searching for things to do. We should all be so happy.

img_1090.jpg

Dad taught me to fish, to hunt, to plant gardens, to care for animals, and embedded in me a sense of honesty. You have to be responsible and proud of what you do and how you do it.

For all Dads’ social isolation, he was one of the original party animals. He loved to talk, dance, eat, and have a good time. I remember his trying to control our Friday night ventures into NY State, as we were 18 and could drink there. (This was popular at the time).

He bought us a keg of beer and had me and my friends stay in our back yard. Of course, by one o’clock, we were out playing football by moonlight. After the many calls from irate mothers the next morning over torn clothes and bruises, he never did it again. But the thought was pure.

I think what I will most miss about Dad is his calm presence in any situation. He just knew what to do and what to say to help us on our way.

God’s nature harsh and untamed,
Cold, wet, wild, un-named,
Create yourself in your own terms,
Make use of the abundance that is provided,

Dad made his choices and struck a claim
Worked the earth above and below
To keep his family fed and clothed
Hard work and fortitude
Honesty and frugality
Fun and laughter
Strong hands and strong bonds
Dad built a foundation out of nothing.

Yet end of days comes for everyone
To move on to another plane of life
But the transition is a new birthing and hard
Especially for those of us remaining here
Dust unto dust, but life ever-lasting

Dad is running free in the woods with his loving dogs
Fishing the streams for rainbow trout
And tuning the Chevy to purr like a cat
We are but moments and seconds from seeing him again
When he will turn and say, what took you so long, slow-poke?

img_3758.jpg

One thought on “Grandpa

  1. What a beautiful tribute, to wonderful man….I will always have fond memories of your grandfather, with the twinkle in his eye and smile on his face.

Leave a Reply