Happy Birthday Grandpa Joe!

13 Nov

Dear Children-

I am so sad that you will grow up in a world without your Grandpa Joe.  Dearest Hazel, you will be the only of our children to have memories of your Grandpa.  I’m so pleased that you will remember him as the man who gave you ice cream and played games with you.  Those are delightful memories to have (these are some of the same memories I have of him!).  Ambrose, Grandpa was so excited to finally have a boy in his lineage.  He grinned from ear to ear when he first met you.

Hazel, your last birthday with Grandpa Joe.  He loved you so much!

Hazel, your last birthday with Grandpa Joe. He loved you so much!

Proud Grandpa.  Every time I dream of him he's wearing this sweatshirt.

Proud Grandpa. Every time I dream of him he’s wearing this sweatshirt.

Ezekiel, I am saddened that you never had the chance to meet your grandpa.  I am sad that he never got to hold you and to dream about hunting  trips with his three grandsons.  Know that he would have been thrilled to meet you and to enjoy life with you.

But today is a day to celebrate the life of Joe Lemsky.   Today he would be 56 years old.  Today we celebrate the breath in our lungs because he first had breath in his lungs.  We are his legacy, and without him we would not exist.

I want to share with you some of my favorite memories of your Grandpa Joe.  He was a brilliant, quirky, silly, hard-working, modest, quiet, kind-hearted man.

  • He would make scrambled eggs with all kinds of good stuff in them and ask if I wanted some.  I remember a few times saying “no thanks” and then getting a heaping plate of eggs anyway.  He knew what was good for me.
  • He was not afraid to learn new things or ask questions.
  • School lunches were never dull when Dad packed them.  Johanne and I would get the big bag of chips with only a few left in the bag.  Or we’d get baby carrots packed in the same bag as pretzels.  Really, it doesn’t sound so strange to me now–he was just trying to save a plastic bag–but at the time it was really funny.
  • The way he extended grace to me (by making me wash and wax the cars) after I got into a car accident and lied about it.  I knew he cared for me.
  • He helped me and your Dad paint this new house of ours.  He was so talented at home remodeling, so it felt like somewhat of a waste of his talents to have him paint.  But he enjoyed himself.  H was so meticulous…and joyful.  While painting he fell off his ladder and dumped paint on the wall and the carpet.  He laughed.
  • One day he left dinner to thaw out on the counter before work.  “Becca, please put me in the fridge before you leave.  Love, Pork Chop.”
  • Hazel, when you were born Grandpa Joe snuggled and snuggled and snuggled you.  I think he held you more than I did!
  • He had taken me to see Dances with Wolves and a few weeks later we adopted a cat named White Socks.  He kept calling the cat “Two Socks” and then “White Spot.”  He could never get that cats name right.
  • He was so competitive.  No one ever wanted to be on the same team as him while playing Sequence.  One time Grandma Patt placed her first chip down and he yelled at her “You ruined the whole game for us.”  We were a game-playing family–I’m thankful for all the Sundays we spent playing Scattegories, The New Yorker, Pretty Pretty Princess, and many other games.
Family game time.

Family game time.

I miss him.  But I am so thankful to have called him Dad.  Sweet Children, today we celebrate the legacy of Joe Lemsky.  You had an amazing Grandpa.

Happy Birthday Grandpa Joe.  Today we celebrate YOU!

One of my favorites.  Crazy Dad!

One of my favorites. Crazy Dad!

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