Monday, June 10, 2013

My grandfather was a good man, but he was human. This is a story about his strengths and his weaknesses.

            My grandfather, Raymond was a remarkable man. He was short of stature and quiet, like Enoch of the Bible he was lose to God and walked with him daily. A man of faith, he gave of his strength, his wealth, and himself to his family and to his church. His life was one of constant activity. During the daylight hours he managed to work a farm and to get some sleep, because at night he worked a shift in the coal mines of western Pennsylvania. The farm always had chickens, two pigs, a bull for meat, and two cows that he milked for milk, cream, and butter. His milk cows were always Guernsey. He said they gave the milk richest in butterfat
That he farmed and worked in the mines was remarkable in itself, but a fact that I learned after his death made the tasks he did so much more astounding. His strength was impressive, but what I learned about him made me think a little less of him as well and it hurt me.
            I knew that he was a gentle and tender hearted person and that allowed him to be used by his older son. Because my granddad wasn’t strict, he ended up doing double duty and double the work in the coal mines. It was apparent he didn’t correct my uncle Dale when Dale was young and then in the mines, he took advantage of this weakness. Dale would sleep most of his shift. My grandfather didn’t hit him upside of the head with a shovel and Granddad loaded enough coal for the both of them.
            It was a hard fact for me to hear. It hurt me that Granddad wasn’t able or willing to correct him and it hurt me that Dale did not have the respect and love for his father allowing him to do the work you were getting paid to do while you slept. Dale had passed away before I was told about this side of him. It explains about his lack of responsibility when it came to work ethic. He had a very uncaring spirit.
            This attitude flowed into the rest of his life. His marriage ended shortly after he had sired three sons. His wife was as neglectful and uncaring as he was with their family, home, and appearance. The children were always dirty. It wasn’t unusual for her to open a can of food, heat it, and then sit the pot in the middle of their bed to eat. She would give each child a spoon and let them feed themselves.
Eventually they got a divorce, she was interred in a mental facility, and the three boys were adopted to another aunt and uncle. He died a lonely man in a small trailer my mom and dad set up for him near the back of their property, because he had no place to stay, couldn’t afford anything else, and no one else would help him.

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