Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

Grandpa’s Philosophy

I’m going to have to skip writing a lengthy post today because I’m spending the day with my grandfather, but I did get a chance to ask him about his life philosophy. He’s a pretty interesting character, though a man of few words.

He’s 84 years old. He served in World War 2 in the Pacific, although I’m led to understand that the fighting was mostly over by the time he got there. He only ever had one job, outside of the Army, which was working for the phone company. He loved that job; he still talks about what a great gig it was.

Grandpa and my oldest niece Annabelle
On the subject of quitting smoking, he says that it saved him from always spending his pocket change. A pack of cigarettes cost 30 or 40 cents in his day. He smoked for 20 years, but didn’t notice any improvement in his health when he quit.

I just asked him what he thought about wireless cell phones, since he spent so much time hanging telephone lines.

“I think it’s all right,” he said.

Really, though, what I want to get out of him is some nugget of wisdom. I want to collect everything he learned about happiness over his life into my brain and use it as a foundation for my own fulfilling life.

“Hey Grandpa,” I said “If you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?”

He looked at me. I rephrased the question.

“You know, I mean, what’s the most important thing in life?”

Finally he spoke. “Well, I’d say it’s knowing Jesus Christ so you can get into Heaven.”

It’s not exactly what I was looking for, but that’s what he had to say. My first instinct was to say “Well, yeah but besides that…” but I thought better of it. It seems disrespectful to do anything but take his advice however he prefers to give it.

In a few minutes I’m taking him into town to meet and have lunch with two of my old friends. We’re going to a Mediterranean style cafe. I asked him what he thought about Greek food.

“Well,” he said, “If you can eat it, I can too.”

3 thoughts on “Grandpa’s Philosophy”

  1. Colleen

    HA! SO sweet! Does he have a newfound love for Baklava?

    I take care of my 89 year old grandma and she always has the most amazing and funny things to say about life. She reads so much it makes *my* eyes hurt and sometimes I walk in to find her watching Jersey Shore with a look of shock and confusion. A couple months ago, she started crying when I skype v-chat w/ my sister in Thailand. She use to work for the phone company as well and she said that people always told her that “image calls” would be possible one day, but she never thought she would see it actually happen.

    The other day I asked her, “What is the one thing you wish you would have known when you were my age?”

    She thought for a moment, then said “I wish I knew not to worry- small things don’t matter.”

    me “How do you know what things are small?”

    grandma “Everything is small.”

    Like you, I find myself constantly asking her questions searching for bits of wisdom. Every (er..99%) question that pops in my head- I ask her, I know it annoys her sometimes but it is so great to know what the only spice my grandma would want if she was stranded on a deserted island (Cinnamon…) ; )

  2. llml

    Love this, Jimmy!

  3. Pat Hargrave

    Great picture! Next time you see him, tell him I send my love!
    And keep asking those questions!!