Friday, January 17, 2014

A trip to remember.

This past month, after Christmas but before the New Year, we headed to Pennsylvania to remember the life of my grandfather. It had just snowed the day before we arrived, so there was some snow left on the ground for us to "oooo" and "aahhh" over. 

The last time we saw snow, we were in the mountains of Georgia celebrating Christmas with my parents, my sister and my grandpa. Bella was two and a half, and Grady had just turned one, and only God knew about Lilly at that time.

Just in case you need a visual, here's a little throwback... Which actually just means that I needed an excuse to go back through old pictures and reminisce a little. Please indulge me.

Here we all are, looking so cute in our Christmas hats. I love how Grady is smiling at Grandpa.

Grandpa and Bella dancing... sigh and sniff.

Ok, moving on. So anyway, it was a few years ago, and three out of three children really did not have any memories of snow. 

When we got to Pennsylvania, we so were excited to get out and play in the leftover snow. We made our first stop, and hadn't even unpacked the coats and hats and gloves, before the kids rushed to see and touch the snow. They didn't seem to mind not being dressed appropriately.

They were so excited to see their breath and smell good ole' Pennsylvania cow poop!


We got to my Aunt & Uncle's house, unpacked, and went right back out to the snow (this time with better attire).

The following series of pictures, well, I love them. My boys were playing snowball fight and chase. Grady's expressions totally make me laugh. He had such a good time stalking and sneak attacking his daddy.

One evening, my aunt and uncle watched our kids, and Bryan & I got to go on a date. We went to dinner, and then thought we would go for a little walk along the streets of Lititz. After dinner, we left the restaurant and got about a block and a half down the road before we decided that we were WAY too cold to actually enjoy our walk. Wimpy southerners, yes, I know. We turned around and hurried back to the car.

And finally, the reason that we came.

This trip and this experience were so full of sweet memories and "remember when"s. I went to school in this building when I lived in Pennsylvania. There used to be pews in this room. Pews that my little 6, 7, & 8 year old self sat in once a week during chapel. I stood on that stage with my best friend and sang "Love In Any Language". It seems so strange to think that I would be gone for 25 years, and then come back for a funeral.

Anyway, this man. What a smile. What a beautiful heart.

He was the mayor of Akron for 25 years.

How he loved her. And now they're together again.

We stood at the front and smiled and hugged. We listened to stories, and got caught up with sweet friends and family from the past. It was such a joy to get to see the parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents of my childhood friends. 

My parents took the stage, and my dad gave the eulogy. It was an absolutely beautiful description of the life of a beautiful God-loving man. There were things about him that I actually learned for the first time that night. My mama spoke, and shared a little from the humorous side of my grandpa. And then I stood up on that stage... and completely started bawling. It's true. If nothing else, I'm sure people must have realized that the man meant a lot to me...

What happened next is my favorite part. We passed the microphone around the room, and people began sharing their stories of my grandfather. There were stories about how he wanted a park for the citizens of Akron, and fought for it until it happened. (And now that park is this.) There were stories of how he discipled people in Christ and led by example. But the majority of the stories were hilarious, about a boy and a man that loved life, and the room was filled with laughter. And it was so good. 

At the end of the service, two representatives from the U.S. Military honored him. They played Taps, unfolded and re-folded the flag, and presented it to my mama. I always knew he was a great grandfather to me, but after that night, I'm even more proud to be his granddaughter. He left a wonderful legacy of love and service.

1 comment:

  1. Amy, the photos of the kids in the snow are the best!
    This morning when my boys saw the frost on the grass they thought it was snow. :)

    What a beautiful service. The mayor for 25 years, wow!