2009 - Volume #33, Issue #3, Page #05[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
I grew up 250 miles away from my grandpa but during my college years I was much closer and spent many enjoyable afternoons with him at his place near Owatonna, Minn. He was in his 90's at that time and still living on the farm where he was born.
Grandpa had a couple chairs out in the garage where we would sit for hours, just talking about "the old days" or this year's garden, or just the "doings" around town at that time. He was kind of an inventor, which always interested me, so he would often show me some of his latest creations. They were never pretty but they always saved him a bit of work or time.
One lesson he taught me was to try to make the best of whatever life throws at you, rather than fighting the inevitable. Here's an example:
He put up new dairy and hog barns in the 1940's, along with a brand new house. In the early 1950's, the government announced plans to run an interstate highway right through the heart of his farm and all those new buildings. When the government agent came around to discuss the purchase of his land, he didn't get angry like many of his neighbors. He invited the man in for lemonade and had a friendly chat. As he later told me, "He was just doing his job." My grandparents ended up exchanging Christmas cards with that government agent for many years after the highway came through.
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