Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Memories of Grandpa Crawford

Talk given:

Friday, May 8, 2009


I don’t normally ‘drink’ but today I am honoring one of my most favorite men ever. I don’t remember a day growing up where he didn’t have a Coke in his hand! Every morning when he would get ready for work, he would have at least six with his lunch. I think I realize now why Grandma always gave us her Diet Cokes…she must have had to spend a small fortune keeping Grandpa in Coke!


There have been many sleepless nights this week as I thought back on what I could share with you about such an amazing man. I will be brief in my words, but hope that you can feel what a powerful influence he was on my life, on all of our lives, and I would just like to share with you the five most powerful things I learned from him.


The first:

He gave me the blessing of the Priesthood in my life. In essence, Grandpa was not only known to my heart and to me by the title of Grandfather, but he was in all aspects to me a “father”. He was like a dad to me.

When I was a baby, he gave me my name and a blessing.

When I was very sick at the age of 2 ½ he came to my home one night, when I was a very very sick girl. I can remember some images of that night, he was one of them. There is no doubt in my mind that I am here today as a direct result from his blessing upon my head.


He was there for me again a few years later when we were three-wheeling in the snow. He was pulling kids around on tubes hooked to the back of the fun machines, while I was sitting on the three wheeler. I don’t recall if he was driving, or who was at the wheel, but somehow we stopped short and my head kept going…right into the handlebars. I still have a scar in proof of the day. I remember being carried and being laid in my aunt and uncle’s gold van by two big hands. I was cared for that day by two big strong hands once again.

A memory of the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City comes to mind. I remember entering that warm, warm water and walking across the font into those loving, strong hands, and being baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I remember many strong hands, his were a set of them, placed upon my head to confirm me a member of the church.


The second thing that has stuck with me

throughout my life:

…and I mentioned it a few times, were his hands. He had the most AMAZING hands. They were SO SO big. They were so strong. I remember as a child, sitting on his lap, or laying with him on the floor watching television, and just looking at his hands, caressing them, and comparing my tiny hands with his.


Grandpa was a mechanic. So it goes without saying that his hands were always “dirty”. It was a sign of hard work, the sign of a man who loved his job. The most amazing thing, and the hardest thing to watch over the past twelve years, was to watch his hands become clean over time. As I would go visit him at the VA, I would still caress his hands, hold his hands and compare mine to his…but the thing missing was the dirt. I could never get over my astonishment. I learned from my husband that if you are truly happy in a job, you will want to do it forever, literally. For my husband’s father he cuts hair. Someday he hopes to cut Heavenly Father’s hair. It is my hope that someday Heavenly Father will let my Grandpa work on his car so that when he greets me after this life that I will recognize his hands again because they will be covered in dirt.


The third thing he taught me?

How. To. Swear.

I recall many a Sunday afternoons waiting for Grandpa to get home from his church meetings. Grandma would have dinner ready and waiting for him. He would walk through the door, throw his scriptures and say, (and I am editing this because I am in the chapel) “Darn it all to hell!”


Other times we often heard, “Oh Shiz” or “Aww Hell”quickly followed by my Grandma’s “Lloyd!”

I guess living across from them as long as we did; something was bound to rub off.

I swear like a soldier at times, and I owe that all to my Grandpa…a habit, like Coke I am still trying to quit.


The fourth thing I take from him:

…is his love of art. As we have heard today, Grandpa was a wood-worker. He was a true artist. I remember him helping my brother with his Pinewood Derby car for Scouts. I remember watching the race of that car in the basement of this very church. Grandpa was so proud of his Grandsons! I also remember him helping Marcus with other Scouting projects. One being knot tying. He was always eager to help us with school projects, and I still have a clay sculpture of the Delicate Arch he painted for me.


I was SO jealous of the day he took Marcus out and let him USE HIS CAMERA! Even at my tender young age, I saw how proud my Grandfather was of his beautiful camera. I too had that love, even back then. I have taken what he loved and made it my own, and to this day I find much solace and moments of reflection behind my lens. I owe my love of photography to him.


I feel so blessed to have inherited some of his talents.


Finally, and most important I take away:

…his love for his FAMILY.


When I learned of his “courting” my Grandmother, I am amazed. I am amazed to see their old fashioned love, and to have taken that into my own life. I love the story you will hear of the Seminary Social. Love his absolute devotion to my Grandma, and so thankful that I have found someone like him to love me for all eternity!

His love extended to all of us. Every single one of us in this family was loved and adored by him. I can imagine his happiness when his Grandsons were born…but I know that he no less loved each one of his granddaughters with the same adoration.


I was blessed to have spent so much time with him as a younger child. He and my Grandma were there for my mom and for us.

I am sure that there were times when he came home from work, and all he wanted to do was spend time with his beautiful wife…and there we were.

But he never let us know that. We never felt that.

He was always so loving, he let us watch his television and drink his Cokes…and he would play with us.

He taught me to sing to my babies.

He sang to me.
He sang to me often, and in honor of him, and to give him my answer true, I want to leave you with the song he used to sing to me almost daily when I was growing up. I love you Grandpa. Until we meet again:

“Grandpa, Grandpa…here is your answer true.

I’m half crazy all for the love of you.

I don’t need a stylish marriage…

I don’t even want a carriage.

We’d look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.”


Carlotta said...

I am not sure why I even thought it was a good idea to come read this while at work!!! It's a good thing nobody is sitting next to me. They would think I was getting emotional over my work. That picture of your grandparents kissing is absolutely tender. A love so true. What wonderful memories to have of him. Hands are amazing and what impressions they leave. How powerful your Grandpas hands are and the love they gave to you and taught you. How powerful to learn the power of the priesthood at such a tender age. What a handsome man he is and was. Its a good thing your Grandma hung onto him!! How hard it is for a loved one to leave our presence and how grateful we are to know that we will see them again and that he is relieved from the ailments of his mortal body. Thank you for sharing.

Michelle Jensen said...

I knew I shouldn't of linked over here today! Just reading it again makes me start to cry all over again. And the pics with your words makes it even more powerfully emotional!! You are so awesome Kim!! I love you..

Dan and Wendy Babcock said...

Great tribute to you grandfather, Kim. (Simply) put.

Kristina P. said...

I love your grandpa. What a sweet man.

Emily Christine said...

I'm not sure if I have posted on your blog yet, if not I'm Emily. This was such a neat post! I have tears streaming down my face. Its great how an impact grandparents can make in our lives. Thanks for sharing!

Ashley said...

My grandfather was my "dad" too. Losing him was horrid. The only way I got through it was because when I saw him at the viewing, he was all dressed in white.

I didn't say "good-bye" that day. I said, "I'll see you later." Knowing that helps me so much and keeping it in my heart when I face difficulties in life is what keeps me going. We're here for a reason, we're doing this for a reason.


Arianne said...

kim this is a beautiful talk. i am sure this was so hard to write or even to share but your grandpa seemed like an amazing man, father and example. I know you will cherish those memories of him forever!!

I love all the pictures of his life.

Manda Jane Clawson said...

That was so beautiful Kim! THANK YOU for sharing!! I love all of the pictures of your cute Grandpa :) My Grandpa taught me how to swear too- lol! Silly old men!

Lace said...

I can't imagine how hard it would be to speak at your own grandpa's funeral, but how rewarding it would be to be able to pay him tribute. I was young when my grandpa died but he was cut from the same mold as yours. From the Coke to the dirty hands to the wood work, and especially to the singing. My grandpa was my favorite person on Earth, my favorite memories are of him, he was the most amazing man and it sounds like your grandpa was the same. Maybe they're hanging out in Heaven shaking dirty hands, singing old time songs and drinking a Coke. Thank you for sharing.

Katie said...

Beautiful. What a sweet tribute to an obviously amazing man.

Moxie said...

My grandfather was more dad than grandfather to me, too. He baptized my brother and I. Every memory you have of yours brought back memories I have of mine. So thank you for sharing him with us. He sounds like such a special person!

And the song? My grandmother sings that song to my kids!

XOXO, Kim. Thank you, once again, for being so honest and frank. I am grateful for the tears I have in my eyes in reading about this man you loved so dearly.

Andee said...

Those pictures are so sweet. I wasn't expecting tears when I started reading this. What a great man he was. Thank You for sharing Kim.

Much love.

Lynda said...

You are so sweet my Kimmie Sue. Thank you for sharing once again
I love you,

Ami and Ryan Donio said...

I wasn't going to cry at the funeral but your talk made me feel like I knew a grandpa I never got to know. You made me cry dang it. Lol. The funeral was amazing wasn't it. Thank you so much Kimmie

mrs. r said...

i loved that. LOVED it!!!

Holly said...

I loved it too. I can't believe you could say all this without totally losing it. Most of us couldn't even read it without crying.

Amy said...

This is so sweet. Sounds like a wonderful Man.

Kim . . . wyomingmade said...

Tears, I am so glad you had such a wonderful grandpa in your life, I am sorry for your loss!

Josh and Anna said...

What a touching post Kim! Thank you for sharing your sweet memories.

Vanessa said...

Well I am pretty sure we must have the same Grandpas or that they would have been best friends. My grandma hid his caffinated sodas in his woodshop house in back. We would get in his old truck and he would go into the church parking lot and let us blow the big horns to make all the ladies coming out of the church JUMP! He also is the one who confirmed me on my baptism day and I will never forget his hands either.

Grandpas are a very special thing and when they love you so much you remember it your whole life.

I miss mine so much also.

Thanks for this post, it brought back many memories for me.

I know he cannot wait to see you and it will almost be a comfort to have him up there rooting for you and sending you extra love :)


Amy and Josh said...

Love this story you gave to us.
Love the pictures! I get all choked up when I see older people kiss and show affection . . . it is THE sweetest thing in the World!
He sounds amazing!!
What would WE all be without men like this in our lives. Thanks for sharing this Kim. love ya.

Kim said...

What a precious tribute. Thanks for sharing. Praying for your family as you grieve...

Heather said...

what a wonderful & beautiful picture you painted with your words of your Grandfather. It reminded me of things I loved about my Grandfather who passed 10 years ago. I can't wait to see him again!