I remember my grandpa from my childhood. He was always the type of man to stay busy. He liked to work with his hands and make sure the farm stayed nice and tidy. He was the epitome of a hardworking man, his hands always dirty from that day’s labor. Whether it was fixing the engine of the old Chevy pickup or pulling out weeds from the tomatoes with grandma, he was always there, ready to help.
My favorite memory of grandpa was when we would go out into the pasture every spring morning and try to find the newly birthed calves. The blessing of a new life is a feeling difficult to describe. All I know is that when we were carefully stepping through the dewy grass as the sunrise broke the horizon it was a feeling only comparable to bliss. One specific find was particularly memorable. Grandpa pointed out a calf clumsily stumbling to its feet just when a second calf joined its sibling in the struggle of taking its first steps.
“Twins!” I shouted, looking over at grandpa. He responded with a smile, and that was enough.
Imprinted in my mind that morning was one of the most magical moments of my childhood.
Unfortunately, just like any sunny day, the sunshine subdued.
No one expected it, then again no-one is ever truly prepared for tragedy until it happens. My grandpa was out in the field going busily about his duties. The bulls tend to stay away from people when they enter the pasture; however, this day was different. Grandpa was comfortable around our steers because he raised them all from when they were calves. For some reason, one of the bulls was angered and charged grandpa without reason. It moved too quickly for grandpa to react besides yelling for help. Hearing the panicked struggle, my uncle rushed out and scared off the bull. The damage was done. The ambulance sped grandpa to the hospital as we drove to meet them on site.
The doctor met us with a concerned look on his face.
“His condition is serious, but it could have been worse,” he reassured.
Grandma let out a sob of relief. That day we took grandpa home knowing he’d never be able to walk without assistance. The doctor said that if he’d actively pursue rehab, his mobility would better but it would take hard work. With that statement, I knew if something so tragic had to happen to anyone, it would be my grandpa. He had what it takes to get back on his feet.
It took a while for my grandpa to join me in this thought. Shocked, I couldn’t fathom the idea of this strong figure wavering at his ability to walk; however, I knew exactly what he needed. His busy hands and mind wouldn’t be able to stay sedentary for long. With time he’d grow restless and realize his place is on the farm and not in the house, practicing his best potato impression on the couch. After I pointed this out to him, he let out a chuckle and agreed.
Once the soreness subdued, grandpa’s diligent personality began to ebb and then flow. He was so persistent about getting back to work that my uncles arranged to get him accommodations for a tractor.
“Might as well put him to work,” my Uncle Charlie joked as he secured the lawn mower lift. My grandpa didn’t pay him any mind as all his attention was on the tractor. He was ready to get back to his passion. I knew we could all agree with that.
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