Monday, June 13, 2011

My Grandpa is Better than Your Grandpa

Harry Sadler 1924-2011
Forgive me if today’s post isn’t relatable to more people than just my family. Last week my grandpa passed away unexpectedly (even at 87, he had too much kick to go just yet) so today, as his family is gathered at his funeral, I’d like to remember him.

I remember learning very young the beauty of Do-It-Yourself. I spend hours upon hours watching at the sidelines as my grandpa would fix/make/create anything he felt was needed. I definitely picked up his I-can-do-it-myself attitude and often think it would be a great idea to reupholster a chair or tile my own bathroom. My Grandpa always made me feel like I could make or create anything I wanted and the product would be so much more fun and rewarding than buying it. He taught me how to use a saw, photoshop, fix a leak and even how to sew. He could do it all. To this day I am attracted to and impressed by anyone who thinks it’s a better idea just to make or do it themselves than to buy something. I think I’ll go upholster that chair now.

As the father of 9 children I’m sure he felt great responsibility to provide for and raise outstanding citizens and proper Christians. I can’t imagine the pressure he must have felt to take care of so much. I know that there were struggles, both physically and emotionally, but I think that’s all part of growing up. He loved his kids and grandkids (and great grandkids, and great, great grandkids… wait, how many of us are there) very much and only ever wanted what was best for everyone. I know he had a hard time expressing his feelings; he has never said “I love you” to me, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t true. He showed his love in the service he did for everyone. He was always doing what he could for others. When I was 18 he let me live with them for a while as I transitioned into adulthood and tried to figure out my life. I’m SURE I wasn’t an easy houseguest to have, but they welcomed me and taught me many things while I was there.

I think my very favorite thing about my grandpa was his determination to be active. His goal was to go square dancing on his 80th birthday, and by Troll he did. When I was an ornery teenager I had to drive my grandpa, aunt and mom to square dancing one time. I was not amused to hav to wait there for them, but found myself enjoying the opportunity to laugh at the ridiculousness that is square dancing. Somewhere around the time I was antsy to get the hell out of there, my aunt had to sit out because she was tired. Square dancing is very particular about the number of people needed to dance at any given time. If she sat out, my grandpa would have to sit out, and their whole group wouldn’t be able to dance. I don’t know how they talked me into it, but I found myself do-si-doing and promenading around like a damn fool. And I loved it. I had so much fun dancing with my grandpa. He was so patient and helpful that I didn’t feel uncomfortable or clumsy. I’m only sad that this was the only time we ever square danced together (note: this is the only time I’ve EVER square danced) I also regret that the last time I danced with him in any capacity was over 8 years ago. Dancing is something I love to do, and it is so much more meaningful when doing it with a loved one.

Harry had a big life and a big family and I’ve hardly done him justice in these 700 words. He was always involved with his church and community or just helping his friends around the neighborhood. I hope he knew what a big impact he had on others and knows that he will be missed.


John & Britta said...

Sorry for your loss. Your post makes me want to take a trip to my grandparents home and give them a big hug! I love reading your blog!

Megan said...

What I will always remember were his genuine hugs. Even if he didn't say "I love you" or take us out for ice cream or do other things some Grandpa's do, he showed his love to us and he never seemed to feel awkward hugging us, he welcomed hugs and even asked how we're doing. It's weird to think we live in a world without him. As long as we've been alive Grandpa has been there, even if it was miles away, he was somewhere, so it's weird now that he's not.

Anonymous said...

Becky said . . .
Love you Savannah, so glad you made the trip home.

Mom said...

Even though it was only one dance, you have good memories of him and that is awesome! I got to square dance with him, too. You did a great job with his tribute. Thank you!