Saturday, November 05, 2011

Death, where is thy sting?

Grandpa went home yesterday.

Friday, November 04, 2011

John Isaac Newcomer

Often, when I was a child, my grandparents came to visit. My sisters, being the only granddaughters, got the lion's share of their largess, a disparity which I admit I may not have been happy with. However, I usually got to do more of the fun stuff - go to the Flywheels Museum or the Eisenhower Library with Grandpa, go outside and cut down a tree, go for a bike ride, or other Grandpa time which I don't entirely remember, but I do remember looking forward to what I got to do with him. Every year when I was little we would go to Illinois to Camp Emmaus for a family reunion with my aunts, uncles, cousins and Grandma and Grandpa. Grandpa would play foursquare and go on walks with us, or we'd play dominoes or cards. He almost always finished his food long before anyone else, and if he was clearing the dishes, you had to watch your plate like a hawk because he'd take it even if you weren't finished. He always took pictures of us eating. Later in life, Grandpa moved in with my parents for a while, and I was not living at home. I still lived in town, however, and so a few times a week, I would go out to their house on my lunch break and have lunch with Grandpa since my Mom had to go into town. I didn't have a long lunch break, but I'd get Grandpa his food and we'd talk for a while before I had to head back. I was working for a manufacturing company, and he had been a mechanical engineer for almost 25 years, so he would often ask what we were doing, and then tell me stories of things he had made or designed when he was working. When I went overseas, Grandpa was not excited but always enjoyed seeing my pictures and hearing I was doing. He always told me to be safe. We would go and see him and play dominoes or golf with him. He wasn't the best at the different card games, but he sure did like to play with us. Grandpa has lived a long life. He got out of combat service in WW2 because he had some form of chicken pox when he was younger, so he went into the fire and communications brigade that set up HQs for 2 and 3 star generals. He got his private pilot's license after the war when he went to the University of Illinois on his GI Bill benefits, along with his engineering degree. He met my Grandma and they got married in '47, built a house in the early 50s and lived there for almost 50 years. He had three sons and eight grandchildren. I've said for years that I'm going to name my firstborn son John, because it's a family name. My Grandpa got it after his brother was born (he was named Burns but then his little brother came along and they called him Burns and renamed my Grandpa John), my uncle had it, my cousin had it, my other grandpa sort of has it, my father-in-law has it and someday my son will too. Grandpa's not doing too well. I've talked to him a few times in the last few days, and he's still my Grandpa. He asks about the weather, he likes hearing what we've been doing, even if it's not too much. I always forget how much we don't know how to deal with all of these things. Grandpa is a stubborn man who has defied his doctor's predictions a number of times, but now is truly seems that Jesus is telling him that it is time to quietly surrender his long life on this earth for a longer one with Him. Grandpa gets to be with my Uncle John and my Grandma soon. I'll miss him.