Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thank You -- Simple Gratitude

I just read in a book that a simple thank-you is one of the most powerful forms of recognition available, and it costs nothing. A few weekends ago there was a charity Co-ed softball tournament to benefit Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. That benefit was done to thank the hospital proper like for taking such good care of some of our Wink children. Another softball charity event will be taking place the weekend of August 29th, but this time we won't be thanking a, this time, we'll be thanking a veteran.

My favorite veteran passed away this year and will no longer be sharing his stories of being a medic in WWII. Earl Nelson Mohler, my grandpa (whom I called lovingly, grumpy), believed that people learn best from experience. Sometimes, his path to educate you left one feeling he was a bit on the ornery side. He just installed an electric fence around his garden to keep some of the pests out. I asked him if I touched the fence would it hurt me. He smiled and said of course not, go ahead and touch it. I thought about it, but then decided I wouldn't touch the fence. He reached out and grabbed a hold of that fence, stood there not wincing, not flinching...looking at me as if to say, "See, it don't hurt." So then I tried it.

Slowly with purpose I reached out for the fence, inching ever closer until at last I clutched the wire and a surge of electricity coursed through my hand, arm, shoulder...I winced in pain, I may have even cried. I then gave my grandpa a look of complete and utter disbelief. "Even those that you think you can completely trust can end up hurting you. You got to think for yourself, girl...or you'll end up a complete mess."

I never thanked my grandpa for that lesson, and I didn't always heed his advice. I've gotten my heart broken a few times, well maybe more than just a few.

In 1985, my parents moved us far away from all our family, people I'd grown up with, spent time with and loved fully with all my heart. I was saying goodbye to my grandpa, wasn't sure when I'd see him again. I asked him if he had an old sweater that he wouldn't mind parting with. He looked at me a bit quizzical, and then got up to retrieve a light brown sweater of his with pockets. "I don't know why you want that old thing, but I never wear it anymore, so here."

Almost 25 years later...the sweater still smells and feels like my grandpa, thanks grumpy.

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