August 23, 2012

Celebrating Life


Throughout my life, I have been greatly blessed with a grandfather who supports, loves, and cares for me. Today marks two years since my amazing grandpa, Glenn Stratton, passed away. However, his legacy still lives on. 
Some of my earliest memories are with Grandpa nearby, smiling and teasing me. When I was young and we would stay at Grandma and Grandpa's, Cait and I had a tradition. Every morning we would wake up, scramble to their bedroom, and crawl into the warm covers between them. Grandma would turn on "Rollie Pollie Ollie" and we would watch until it was breakfast time. This was my favorite part of the day growing up.
I have never known a more gracious man than my grandpa. Since he had been blessed with many things, he was always the first one to help someone out in need and share what he had. Grandpa showed me the true meaning of service. Through him, i learned that when you help others, you can't help but make yourself feel better.

I know he loved me, because of the things he taught me. 
Grandpa taught me the value of working hard. He is one of the most hardworking men i have ever known. From a young age, Grandpa was taught to work hard to provide for others. This dominoed into a lifetime of hard work, and determination. After serving in Korea, he started a construction business with his brothers, Interstate Rock Products. It is still successfully operating today. Grandpa taught his children how to work, and they taught us. Grandpa loved to go to Kolob or to a job and help out. He never let anyone stop him from working hard. He was working right alongside other able bodied men even in his old age. He always encouraged us to give 110% in everything we did.
Grandpa taught me that Family is the most important thing in life. He loved to take us on four-wheeler rides, go fishing with us, take us on rides in his truck, or just talk with us. He was very family focused, and i really believe that our family is so close because of my grandpa. He was the light of the room. He could make anyone laugh.  His piercing blue eyes almost always had a little sparkle in them. He also taught me that we should love everyone, even if they make mistakes.  
My grandpa had a great love for the gospel. He loved the Savior, and frequently told us this. He had a great testimony, and hearing his greatly strengthened mine. He served in many church positions, and greatly influenced many people's life through his service in the LDS church. 

My grandpa loved to tell stories. Often, after the dinner dishes were cleared, we could get Grandpa telling about his childhood and high school pranks, and other outrageous things. He told us about his first kiss, and how he fell off the porch because he was so scared. Once we even got him to talk about when he served in Korea, which only a few family members have heard about in detail. Oh how he could laugh! Once he got started, he could keep going for hours. I loved learning about what made my grandpa the great person he was. 
 One of my favorite memories of my grandpa occurred when i was about 12 years old. We had gone over to drop something off at their house, and as we went inside we found it empty. Venturing outside, we found a sight I will never forget as long as i live. Grandpa was sitting in his pajama bottoms and his brown Interstate Rock shirt in the orchard. He had a chocolate Fudge-sickle in one hand, and his pellet gun in the other. Before he noticed we had stepped outside, he lifted the pellet gun and with one hand proceeded to shoot a bird right out of his apple tree. As the bird fell to the ground, my jaw dropped. I had heard stories of my grandpa's amazing shooting ability, but had never seen such an acrobatic trick in all my life. Well, Grandpa went on lickin' that fudge sickle like nothing had happened. Right about then, he turned and saw us staring. Grandpa got a guilty smile on his face. We learned that grandma had gone to book club, and Grandpa had sauntered right out and assumed his position to exterminate the fruit destroyers. To this day, this memory still makes me laugh. 

I love my Grandpa Stratton so much. He has done so many things for me, and i will be forever grateful for  him. Grandpa was in the hospital for 3 weeks prior to his passing. Luckily, he got to a point where we could visit him. A week before his passing, i got to go visit him. I am so glad that God gave me this last opportunity to tell my grandpa how much i loved him. When i walked into the room that night, everything seemed right. Grandpa was reclined on the hospital bed, with his hands behind his head like he was perfectly fine. He was wearing his tan Interstate Rock shirt, and pajama bottoms. Just like the day we found him shooting the birds. I had a feeling that this might be the last time i would see my grandpa, but i felt at peace. I have always and will forever picture my grandpa how he was that night. Happy, loving, and in a joking mood. And as i write this final memory, i find tears forming in my eyes. I know my grandpa loved me because the last thing i would ever hear from his mouth was, "I have the prettiest granddaughter in the whole world. I am proud of you. I love you. I'll see you soon."

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