Thursday, March 27, 2014

Week 9 of 2014 - Favorite Relative

Well since Jan wrote about Grandpa Anderson, I think I will choose Grandpa Smith.  What a great man and grandfather he was.  We Smith kids were so blessed!  Grandpa Everett Alton Smith was a wonderful and wise gentleman.  While spending almost half his life in a fight with multiple sclerosis...a disease that crippled not only legs, arms and hands, but sometimes took eyesight and speech away, too.  As disabling as it was, there wasn't much known about it and while we have much more research and documentation today, there still is no cure. I can remember Grandpa Smith walking with leg braces and a cane, while I'm sure my younger siblings only remember him in a wheelchair.  I never remember him complaining.  He continued to minister to his parishioners, guided the building of a brand new church in Lapeer...Trinity Methodist Church, and graciously accepted the title of Pastor Emeritus.  It was getting incredibly difficult for Grandma to take care of him herself and the decision was made to move to Detroit...a move that I'm sure was difficult to make.  With only one son, and the father of six children, I'm sure Grandma and Grandpa hesitated to go farther away and live in downtown Detroit at Boulevard Temple Methodist Retirement Home. It would mean more travel for son Harold and his family.  But it also meant that Grandpa would have the medical help and hospital floor he so desperately needed.
Grandma Lillian would not have to be solely responsible for Grandpa's care. Coupled with the fact that Grandma was about 5' 1" tall and probably weighed 120 pounds, and the disease was not showing any signs of letting up, it turned out to be a blessing for all involved.

I don't remember Grandpa ever complaining. He kept his sense of humor to the very end.  He sometimes would tease Grandma and everyone would enjoy the fact that Grandma was oblivious to the fun poked at her.  I always felt that my Dad's outlandish sense of humor was a carbon copy of his dad multiplied by 10.  Grandpa always was up on the world news, the latest joke and was very interested in what his six grandchildren were up to. He always had an April Fool's joke or two, loved cole slaw, roast beef and apple pie and listerine.  YUP...when I see or smell Listerine...that's my Grandpa Smith.
April 17, 1971  -  Untited Methodist Church - Romeo, MI. 

My marriage was performed by Grandpa Everett.  In those days, there weren't video tapes, but I still have the cassette tape of the ceremony and the still photographs with him in the front of the altar in his wheelchair.  We were also blessed with him baptizing our son Brad in 1973 in my parents home in Imlay City. There have been so many times when I think of Grandpa and wonder what he would think of our current church issues, progress or lack of and our world in general. Some day, I will get the chance to ask him.  I know he will still have the terrific sense of humor, gentle compassion and love of Christ that I feel was so very special about him.  He loved his faith and family, accepted the challenges of his life journey and encouraged all he came in contact with to do the same.  What a mentor he was to so many people.  Thinking of you, Grandpa!!!  Love you!!

1 comment:

  1. Great post...I had a hard time deciding who to pick as favorite relative because I love them all! Jan