The man who taught me how to garden passed away last week and we buried him today. I had the honor of writing and reading his eulogy as well as being a pall bearer. he will be missed, but not forgotten.
Here is the eulogy:
As most of you know, I have dedicated the past 25 years or so to being a teacher. With 19 years in the classroom, I have taught hundreds and hundreds of children how to read, write, calculate, and about the wonders of the natural world and its history. I had years of formal training in college and in various seminars and conferences to perfect my craft. The classes and sessions were taught by people with various degrees and doctorates who were experts in their field and they gave me a lot of useful information that made me the teacher that I am today. However, none of them taught me anything close to what my grandpa. Big Jim, taught me over the wonderful years we spent together.
Grandpa was my mentor, my father figure, my role model, and so much more to me. He was always there for me and taught me everything I know about how to live life to its fullest. Grandpa was the best teacher I ever had and I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for his love and devotion to my upbringing.
Here’s a few things he taught me…maybe he taught a few of you the same things when you spent time with him.
He taught me how to cast a pole, bait a hook, run a trotline, clean a fish, shoot a squirrel, deer, turkey, duck, goose, rabbit, coon, pheasant, quail, and pretty much anything else that swam in the water, ran across the Earth or flew across the skies. He taught me how to blow a duck and a goose call and set a decoy spread making sure there was always a pocket for the birds to land in. He taught me to eat what I caught or shot and to respect the game and fish that I pursued.
He taught me how to drive a nail, screw a screw, build a wall, roof a house, wire a switch, plumb a toilet, paint a room, change a tire, change my oil, change my brakes, and fix pretty much anything that needed fixing. He taught me the value of a set of tools and that a can of starting fluid, duct tape and bailing wire can solve a lot of problems.
He taught me how to plant a seed and grow a garden. He taught me how to split wood and build a fire. He taught me how to drive a stick shift and took me to get my driver’s license. He loaned me a car when my truck was broken down. He taught me how to drive a boat and back up a trailer. He bought me my first gun and always made sure I had plenty of ammunition to shoot. He took me for my very first haircut…I gave him his last haircut.
He taught me that a full house beats a straight and a flush, but loses to 4 of a kind He also taught me how to call Dr. Pepper (10’s, 2’s, and 4’s) and Baseball (3’s 6’s and 9’s) as wild cards even if all the other players groaned and complained.. He taught me how to rack the balls, make a bank shot and to call the pocket on the 8 ball. That a leaner was worth 2 points and a horseshoe worth 3. He taught me how to mix a cocktail and drink a cold beer. He taught me how to make friends and how to deal with enemies. He taught me to respect my elders and to listen to them because they have so much to offer. He taught me how to love my wife, because he loved his wife so very much He taught me how important family is. He taught me how to be a man….I hope I did him proud.
Grandpa taught me how to tell a dirty joke. He was the first adult that let me use a few curse words without getting in trouble….he made sure that I didn’t use them around my mom or grandma though! Grandpa told me that it was ok to bend some of the rules, just don’t bend them too far or too often.
Grandpa taught me that if I work hard and learn as much that I can, that I can have a successful life full of good times, great friends, and a family that will always be there for you. In my darkest days of depression, grandpa taught me that life was worth living. He taught me how to live. Now he is teaching me about death and grieving…a tough lesson to learn.
Grandpa made me the man and the teacher that I am today by teaching me and I’ll do my best to live up to his expectations and pass on his legacy. If he touched a part of your life by teaching you a thing or two, I hope that you take the time to pass it on to someone you care about.
I love you grandpa, they broke the mold when they made you. Thanks for teaching me. I hope you are where the food is home cooked, the fish are biting, the ducks and geese are flying, the turkeys are gobbling, the big bucks are rutting, the cards are running good, and the renters are paying on time!