Friday, December 11, 2009
sometime this year, an extraordinary American was born.
You were born in Pennsylvania in 1909, into a immigrant coal mining family. Your family spoke French at home, and broken English outside of the home. Your Father worked hard, because at the time, he owned his home, which was a rarity in a coal mining town.
You left school at a young age, to go to work in the coal mines, which was common at the time. You held various and sundry jobs through out your life, from coal miner, truck driver, mill worker, and cab driver. No job was beneath you, and no pay too small. At times, you would work 2 jobs to make sure your family was housed and feed, and during the Great Depression when you didn't have a job, you hunted to put food on the table for your family.
You were described as a bear of a man, the proverbial 'Bull in a China Shop', who had a jovial disposition, a quick smile, a hearty laugh, and you dearly loved your family. Like many men of the time, you enjoyed your cigarettes and beer, and your pipe, and your chewing tobacco.
At times, your wife would yell at you..."Bill, we could have bought one by now!" regarding the picnic table you built out of scrap wood that took 1 month to build, or "Jesus Christ Bill, what the hell are you doing!" when she found you had mixed paint with her new mixer, to which you replied "It worked, didn't it?"
You loved your Grand Children, and on Christmas Eve, you would walk around outside, in the dark and bitter cold, ringing jingle bells, shouting "Ho! Ho! Ho!" to the children inside, much to their delight.
On a cold winter night in 1964, while driving home from your job as a cab driver, you pulled over to the shoulder of the road...
The next day, the local Sheriff found your car with you inside. Prior to passing away, you had sense enough to make sure you were on the side of the road, so as to not cause an accident.
I was only 3 years old when you died, and yet, 45 years after you left, I think of you on a daily basis when I pass your pictures in my hallway.
My only memory of you, my dearest Grandpap, is of you holding me and my twin brother on your knees, bouncing us up and down, off of the back porch of your house, but please know, I cherish that memory close to my heart.
And I still miss you.