To my great love, my Pop-pop

Sunday afternoon I was sitting in church and the pastor said something that struck me.

“You can’t do whatever you want to do.  But you can do whatever you were created to do.”

Three hours later my Pop-pop took his last breath.  As I sit back and write this I think about how that was so true in his life.  I know that he was created to be the father to six daughters, the father in law to four sons and the grandfather to four granddaughters and three grandsons.  He was created to love and to be loved, and more than anyone I know my Pop-pop loved and is loved.

Luke 12:48 says “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”

I believe my Pop-pop was a faithful servant of this verse.  As the Vice President of a prominent company, he was entrusted with much, and gave much back in return. He was a leader unlike so many of the ones we hear about in the news today.  I think he really could have taught current day CEO’s a couple of things.

I was fortunate enough to have countless memories with my grandfather.  A couple of years ago I was really down, so my mom suggested that I take a trip to Florida to visit my Pop-pop.  I will always cherish those days we got to spend together.  Pop-pop was always making me laugh whether he was telling a joke or singing a Polish song.  While in Florida I got to give my Pop-pop a manicure, help him learn new songs for his choir (and re-write the lyrics in a really large font so that he could read them after I’d left), enjoyed tea at 2am and bacon and eggs in the morning.  I got to brush his hair that never would stay down, go to the fish fry at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and dance with him to the live band.

Growing up I enjoyed fishing with my Pop-pop and smelling his famous clam chowder when I came home from the beach (although I never actually tried it…).  One of my favorite memories of Chincoteague was when Caroline, Merridith and I dressed up as Nanny and Pop-pop.  I wore one of his old undershirts that he refused to throw away (which Nanny later famous tore up) along with a pair of oil stained khakis and one of his famous trucker hats.  Merridith wore a similar outfit.  Caroline wore one of nanny’s floral frocks and held her iron.  The entire family spent the night doubled over in laughter at the accurate portrayal of our grandparents.

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I went to spend a night at his house and the next morning we were feeding him oatmeal and strawberries.  He sat there eating quietly, as meal times were for eating, not talking.  When he finished the bowl of strawberries we asked him if he wanted anymore and he responded, “I’ll take whatever you can spare me.”  The Vice President of Mack Trucks was asking a 24 year old kid to spare him some strawberries.  His humility, humbleness and sense of humor never ceased to amaze me. 

I take comfort in the fact that my grandfather was a devoted Christ follower, that he lived a long life and accomplished great things.  I take comfort in all of our memories together, that I got to have him dance at my wedding and that I got a chance to tell him I loved him one final time.  And I take the most comfort knowing that I will see him again one day.  In the meantime, give Nanny a kiss for me.

His first three grandchildren: Merridith, myself and Caroline

Remember, the Manhattan always needs TWO cherries.

Out on the boat in Chincoteague

Thanksgiving, 2004

Singing Caroline a song.  He LOVED a good Polish song.

I give a great manicure.  If you want to invest in a nail salon give me a call. 

Merridith and Rich’s wedding

Breaking it down at my wedding.  I feel beyond blessed that he was there for this.

Our last Thanksgiving together, 2009.

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