Friday, December 16, 2011

Grandpa Buff 2011

Last Saturday, Kevin's grandfather George passed away at 93 years old. He was extremely well-loved. He was the last grandfather Kevin and I had and one of the best men I have known. I am certain he is one of the reasons Kevin is such an amazing husband and father. At his wake and funeral this week, I felt proud that James is his great grandson.

This is what Kevin said about him the day of the funeral:
    By anyone’s estimation, my grandfather’s life was an overwhelming success.

    George Altimus Rogers was married for over sixty years to a woman who cherished him so deeply she withstood thousands of hours of sports she did not care for and pretended not to understand. Only occasionally—when the table was set and dinner was warm—would she say, Turn off the idiot box, Buffy.

    He had four children—Nesie and Mary and Dick and my mother—all of whom were by his side when he died. He had four grandchildren—Katie and Chris and Andrew and me—and one great grandchild, all of whom visited him during his final days. He owned a business, ran a farm, and served his country overseas. You are not likely to meet someone else who can say this.

    He was the only Red Sox fan I know who was alive when the team won the World Series in 2007, 2004, and 1918. As a kid, he crafted wooden nickels in shop class to circumvent the turnstile and sneak into Boston Braves games. The last time we spoke, he had opinions about the Patriots’ defense.

    Everyday he listened to an AM radio older than I am and read two newspapers. Until it was no longer possible, he kept himself fit playing golf and gardening. His mind he kept sharp with crosswords. He told me he liked all of the presidents. For decades, he sat in a comfortable chair beside my grandmother and looked at peace.

    My grandfather attended my graduations and my wedding. When my son James gripped his finger, he called him Jimmy. My grandfather and I had an entirely uncomplicated relationship. He treated me with respect, and I respected him tremendously. When someone lives a life as long and rich in meaning as my grandfather did, you feel very grateful and, for a time, you feel very sad.

    I will miss the earnest greeting he unfailingly delivered to me—and then my wife Ericka and later James—when we came to see him. I will miss the reverence with which his chair was treated—both in the living room and at the head of the table—and his perpetually stained slacks. I will miss his indifference toward those stains. I will miss the long silences my grandfather and I shared waiting for the pitcher to throw the ball to the batter. I will even miss the fable of how he ate every part of the apple, though I suspect my grandmother will keep this story in circulation.

    I will miss a lot of things about my grandfather because there were a lot of things to appreciate and to admire. We will all miss him and, in doing so, we will honor what a great grandfather and father and husband and man he was.
Cape Cod Engement Party 2007
With his kids and grandchildren in 2007

kevins wedding 017-1
At our wedding in 2009

Rogers 60th Wedding Anniversary 2010
Celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary in 2010

Cape Cod- May 2011
Meeting his great-grandson James in 2011

Thanksgiving 2011
James's fourth trip to visit his great grandpa and our last photo together

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