Sunday, November 30, 2008


This handsome, serious-looking young man is my Papa--roughly sixty-two years ago. Papa turned 80 this past Wednesday and I can't help but think how amazing it is that he is still living in the house he built fifty-some years ago and how awesome it is that he'll be celebrating 60 years of marriage with my Grandmother later in December.

On my drive back from Houston and I had a great deal of time to reflect upon everything Papa has taught me, and our family. Papa is as introverted as they come, with a wicked sense of humor that no one would ever expect upon first meeting him. He and Grandma have raised three Lutheran educators, without either having a college degree themselves. However, Grandpa is also as bright as they come, and never ceases to continue learning himself.

He went into the army after graduating from high school, at age sixteen, as a cryptographic technician; after serving his time, he and my Grandma settled back in their hometown of Atkins, IA. Papa served as a construction superintendent for forty years. Along with being an introvert, Papa is a perfectionist and true craftsman. Both of which have served his family well as he built my father and aunts' childhood home, and then helped with numerous home-improvement projects in all of their houses later. Papa is a walking testament to the mantra, "If you're going to do something, do your best everytime."

He has set an example of stewardship and service for his children and grandchildren by serving as the church treasurer for years, only giving it up when he knew someone would take it over that would do the job well (his niece). I believe the church counts on him for various projects around the building and parsonage and he is only too happy to oblige. He also still works at the local phone company as their book-keeper.

In Papa's thoroughness and perfectionism is a quest for understanding. He waited till he retired to get a computer, but took a class on them first before purchasing what he thought would be his one and only computer. He's on number four or five now. :) This is just one example of how Papa doesn't do anything unless he's thought it through, which is something our society needs a reminder about--or at least I do. Since retiring he has also taught himself how to mat and frame artwork and to make lovely, lovely wooden boxes that he has given to each of his children and is working on getting them to each grandchild as they are confirmed--there is one left. I can't think of a better treasure than something lovingly made by my Papa.

There are so many things I could say, or would love to have my family weigh in on about Papa. I admire his quiet determination, a characteristic my sister inherited. I suppose I look for those characteristics in others I put in my life. Dad gave Jason a HUGE compliment after helping him install an new garage door opener for a neighbor. He told me Jason was very thorough and it was like working with Papa. I can't wait for them to meet.

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