Saturday, January 23, 2016

In Remembrance

If you follow this blog for very long, you'll begin to realize that I tend to exaggerate. For example, I've tended to focus on the grumpy, cantankerous side of my brother-in-law. I now find that I must be somewhat more serious and tone down my characterization of his personality. He passed away last Monday and my wife and I have been busy making funeral arrangements in the middle of what the local news has been calling "The Blizzard of 2016."

While he could out-stubborn a mule and was quite aggravating at times, my brother-in-law also had a heart of gold. I can't begin to count the times he helped out my wife and I. Total strangers were just as likely to earn his favor. He even gave away his only vehicle to someone he barely knew because theirs had broken down and couldn't be fixed. While my wife speaks about her older brother throwing dirt clods at her when she was little, she remembers many acts of kindness as well. He loved to play cards and Scrabble. He fed feral cats on his doorstep and went through about 100 pounds of cat food a month. He watched wrestling on TV as well as reruns of old westerns from the 50's. He was obsessed with Bigfoot and model trains. Possums, skunks and groundhogs feared his pistol and we frequently heard him shooting at one in the middle of the night. John Deere tractors held a fascination for him and you rarely saw him without his battered old green and yellow baseball cap. When the weather turned cold, his John Deere jacket came out of storage. He loved a practical joke and I'm sure his spirit is somewhere having a good laugh at us having plan his funeral with a foot of snow on the ground.

While I frequently wrote about him and characterized him as a grumpy old curmudgeon, it was with my tongue placed firmly in my cheek. Yes, he could be crotchety, pigheaded and obstinate, but he was still dearly loved by everyone in the family and will be greatly missed for many years to come.

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