Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth (Winner) of July!


Today's prize package goes to Sarah R! (You can read Sarah's blog right here.) Sarah, check your email for my note, okay? And happy knitting!

In honor of Independence Day (the historical event, not the movie) (I love the movie) (should I be embarrassed to admit that?) (Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum striding toward us through the desert, all tall and lanky and backlit; it just doesn't get any better than that) I want to tell you a story.

My Grandpa Larry was 100 when he died in 1997. He was easily one of the most patriotic human beings I have ever known -- the real kind of patriotism, too. Oh, he was a flag-waver (no doubt about that!) but he also put his money where his mouth was by fighting in three wars (World Wars I and II and Korea) and serving for 20 years as a mounted policeman with the NYPD. He grew up poor and alone on the Kansas plains at the turn of the last century and somehow found himself living what has to be one of the most fascinating lives I've ever encountered. He sailed across those plains in a prairie schooner, shook hands with Teddy Roosevelt, and was featured on the front page of the New York Daily News on the day Lindbergh received his ticker tape parade.

He was half Chippewa, half Scots-Irish, and to quote him, "100% American," and I only wish I had been smart enough to capture all of his stories before he died. (I also wish my family hadn't been so damned secretive but that's a whole other issue.) He was also an amateur artist who dabbled in watercolors, oils, sculpting, and managed to turn the practical business of sailor's knots into works of art I treasure. He created this banner for the Bicentennial in 1976. (He was 79 at that time -- a man in his prime!) This photo doesn't do it justice. This story doesn't do Grandpa justice.

(Did I mention he had five wives??)




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5 Comments:

Blogger Turtle said...

grandpa sounds like he was very cool! congrats to the winner and happy 4th to you!

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Connie Brooks said...

Wow!

Your grandpa sounds like an amazing man. What wonderful memories you must have of him!

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5 wives. All at the same time? Inquiring minds want to know.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Rooie said...

Sometimes I think they just don't make people like our grandfathers any more. I had a grandfather who, while he didn't have five wives, was a fascinating guy....farmer, banker (he worked (as either president or vice-president) of the only bank in Washington DC that didn't close during the Depression...and would, I think, be aghast at the banking business today), artist (he drew and painted - no knots, though).

And woot! I won a prize! Thank you!

3:52 PM  
Blogger T.M. said...

Wow, I would've loved a grandpa like that. Sounds like he was really great. And what wonderful stories. Hope you had a great weekend.

8:03 PM  

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