I talked to my grandfather today. It was the usual conversation we have, lasting about two or two and a half minutes. "How are you? How's the book? How's the weather? Anything new and exciting?"
I go through my usual rigmarole with him, and there is usually not much to say.
But sometimes I think about my grandpa, and how he is really the only man I have ever admired.
My grandfather is a product of the Great Depression, and the Second World War.
My grandfather was a lieutenant in the Army during WWII, and he fought bravely. But he never really recovered from the War. I don't mean he went through PTSD, but rather he could never really reconcile what he did and what he witnessed.
He doesn't really like to talk about the war, other than little snippets. I asked him once about it, and he said to me, and it still breaks my heart, "Jason, I pray to God for forgiveness everyday for what I did in the war." See, he made decisions that got men killed, and killed men, lots of them. And that is something he hasn't been able to accept, all these years later.
Despite his experiences in the last necessary war, my grandfather was determined to live a good life.
And that is exactly what he did. He went to college, Washington University to be exact, and became a mechanical engineer. He made good money his entire working life in an effort to provide his wife and three children, (my mother, uncle and aunt) with a comfortable life. He worked hard for decades to make sure they had what they wanted, but never living to excess.
With the fact that my father missed some of the most important years of my formative life, I looked to my grandfather for guidance. And he did not let me down. He showed me, patently, how to be a man. How to take care of those you love.
My grandfather is the finest man walking this earth, in my opinion. One of the great things about him, despite all he has seen in his 85 years, he retains an amazing sense of humor. He is one damned funny man! And he certainly enjoys finding humor in me, and some of the silly things I say.
I owe my grandfather more than I could ever express. I am grateful to him for showing me what it takes to be a man.