Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Grandpa

Photo from http://www.roysephotos.com
It seems only appropriate that today, on what would have been my grandfather's 92nd birthday, we were visited by our first tufted titmouse of the season.  

At the end of his life, when he was recovering from a stroke, grandpa and I sat in his room at the nursing home, looking through a bird identification book.  He would pause on occasion to tell me about one bird or another.  The Robin, "she's a nice one".  Then we got to the tufted titmouse.  He wanted me to remind him of the name, then tried to repeat it.  He could not get the sounds right and we laughed.  He laughed so hard there were tears in his eyes as he repeated again and again "piss mouth"... "piss mouth".  He couldn't convince his own mouth to form the right sounds.  I love that man still.  He's been an influence over my life from the time I was so very young.  I am thankful for the reminder of my grandpa, especially on this day of memory.

Above are my grandparents, surrounded by most of their grandchildren, a few great grandchildren, and some in-laws.  My grandfather was a family man.  He adored his big family.  He overflowed with joy at each opportunity to spend time loving on each individual, or (on rare occasion) the whole gang.  Grandpa was a musician as well.  He played a variety of stringed instruments, and repaired them for all string players in the county - and visitors to the county.  Because of this business, my grandparents hosted visitors from around the country.  

I learned so much from my grandpa.  I really hope my children will have the same admiration, adoration, and love of their grandparents that I had for mine.  My grandpa was a hero in my mind.  He was a leader in my faith.  He was someone I want to emulate as a parent and some day as a grandparent.

Happy Birthday Michael Billey!


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