My grandpa, Aaron Carey, was an awesome man. He was a soldier in WWII who was captured by the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge. After suffering through the hell that being a POW entailed, he later received a Bronze Star medal for his service.
He, like many other Cherokee men, didn't have a problem ignoring people if he didn't want to talk to them. My mom and my aunt went to visit him shortly after me and my cousin were born. Grandpa's wife, Nellie, yelled down the hill in Cherokee, "Aaron, you have visitors." He, in Cherokee, asked who it was. If it wasn't someone he wanted to talk to, he wasn't going to come up. Nellie said, "Sis and Linda. They brought their babies." Well, it didn't take grandpa long to get up that hill. He was excited and couldn't wait to see his first two grandchildren. Having no female elders in our Cherokee family, he picked our Cherokee names and gave them to us on that visit.
Grandpa only went to 8th grade in school, but he was a smart man. He said he learned by watching everything - the sky, the trees, the animals, even the bugs. He said you could learn a lot of what you needed to know by watching them. Because of his upbringing, he knew what roots to dig for different ailments and would get them and prepare them for his kids when they were sick.
Grandpa was a proud man and never wanted anything he didn't earn. He was so proud, that he refused to allow his family to eat at the homes of others when invited, saying, "I'm a man. I can feed my family." He also never expected anything simply because he had Indian blood. He worked for everything he had and still, at the age of 70, was climbing up on the roof to put shingles on a porch he had built.
I absolutely loved and adored my Grandpa Carey. He wasn't a rich man. He wasn't the most formally educated man. And he wasn't a famous man. But he was my grandpa and I had more respect for him than I do for most wealthy, educated and famous men. I'll miss that little old 5'2" "Indian grandpa" of mine for the rest of my life. He wasn't perfect, but I thought he walked on water.
My dad's biological father died in a car wreck when my dad was one day old. My grandma was left a young widow with four children. When dad was about 15 months old, grandma met and eventually married the man my dad called dad and who I called grandpa.
My Grandpa White was only 21 years old when he decided to take on the responsibility of a ready made family. He worked his whole life to support and care for that family. They were not his biological children, but they WERE HIS CHILDREN. He never officially adopted them because he didn't want to take their name, their bio father's name, away from them, but he couldn't have loved them or cared for them any more if they were his own children. He was the same with us, his grandchildren.
No child could ask for more in a grandpa. He played with us, loved us, cared for us, protected us, etc...Everett Lewis White did not have to be a dad to my dad or a grandpa to me or a great grandpa to my kids, but he chose us and we are so blessed that he did. I love that man and will miss him for the rest of my life. They sure don't make 'em like him anymore.
I have been blessed to have two wonderful grandpas in my life - an "Indian grandpa" and a "Grandpa White". I embrace my mixed ethnic heritage and celebrate the fact both of my grandpas encouraged me to be just who I am, never allowing anyone to make me feel less for being a "mixed blood."
Happy Heavenly Father's Day to my two special grandpas. They are greatly missed.
Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.
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