Friday, April 5, 2013
Paul Evan Wood 4/16/1930-4/6/2013
This week we had to say goodbye to Grandpa Wood. It is such a bittersweet time because we know he's rejoicing in Glory, but he leaves a void in our lives that no one else could fill.
Last Christmas, while Grandpa read the Christmas story from the big family Bible with all the extended family gathered around I had the terrible feeling that it was the last year he would be with us for Christmas. At the time, I banished the morbid thought and went on enjoying the day, refusing to believe the warning in my spirit, but still taking extra care to cherish the time we all had together.
Memories take me a few decades to the days when I was young. I remember eating breakfast with Grandpa (unfrosted shredded wheat, but he always let me scoop a spoonful of sugar on mine) while watching the squirrels try to steal birdseed from the bird feeder out the kitchen window. He kept a bird watching book close by and when a bird landed on the feeder, he’d help me find it in his book.
Early on Sunday mornings we’d walk across the parking lot between the parsonage and the church to ring the church bell. The thick, rough bell rope would pull me right up off the ground if I held on tight enough.
Every time we visited he handed out crisp new $2 bills to all the grandkids. I saved mine for 20 years until they were absorbed by my tight newlywed budget. When the grandkids grew up, he handed out golden dollars to the great-grandkids. My three daughters still have a few of theirs in a jar on top of our refrigerator.
Visiting Grandpa and Grandma when we lived in South Dakota was so exciting. On the way there we counted stop signs the last half hour of the trip - there were 8 stop signs and we'd get more excited with each one until we finally pulled into the church parking lot. We'd run up the long front walk as fast as our little legs would carry us and Grandpa and Grandma (and Whinnie, the poodle, tail wagging) would meet us at the top with big hugs and kisses. What a way to end a long trip! On the way back home, he’d give me and my brothers each a dollar to spend on a treat at Emma Krumbees. I always chose stick candy, tubes of flavored honey and old fashioned taffy. Candy sticks always make me think of Grandpa.
One time my cousin Ginger and I found some old clothes and wigs in the storage room of the parsonage. We were probably 9 or 10. Grandma helped us dress up in them like little old ladies. We walked over to the church office and pretended to be visitors to the church. Grandpa was so nice. He showed us to the seats in his office and played along with us, inviting us to the Sunday service. He never let on that he knew it was really us. We were absolutely convinced we had fooled him. I wanted to dress up on Sunday too, but Mom wouldn’t let me. I was so worried that Grandpa would get his feelings hurt if the little old ladies didn’t come to the service.
All of this has gotten me thinking about the kind of legacy I want to leave behind, and the legacy that I’m apart of through the patriarch of my amazing family. I’m so thankful to be part of the legacy of a career pastor, an amazing husband, father, grandpa and more importantly a devoted man of God. I can hardly remember Grandpa without remembering his well-worn Bible. He left a legacy of salvation and faith.
Our family has a tradition of singing the doxology after the prayer before we eat together. The simple hymn comes alive with beautiful harmony when we all sing together. It makes me very sad that we will never all be together again here on earth to sing it.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him all creatures here below,
Praise him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Grandpa lived this song's message all through his life. Now he’s singing in glory in the presents of our Heavenly Father himself. I trust we will all sing together again when we join him in eternity.
Goodbye Grandpa. You are loved and you'll be remembered.