Monday, May 30, 2011


I never knew my grandfather Van. He died before I was born. I've only heard stories about him from my grandma and my dad, some good, others not so good.

We hope that after we die, people say only wonderful things about us. But it's probably the un-wonderful things that people tell that make it more real that we were actually here. Like they say, nobody's perfect. And our imperfections that lead to misguided actions may not always be justified or warranted, but they make us who we are just as much as the good things we do in life.

I used to wish I didn't know the bad things about my grandfather. But he's been gone for a long time and I don't even have my own memories of him. So instead I try to piece together the picture of a man who was just doing his best the only way he knew how. And did at least two very good things in his lifetime, one of which was marrying my grandma, and the other, well, making my dad of course.

In the few pictures I've seen of him, he was very old and not smiling. He was apparently not an affectionate or demonstrative man with his family. But there's something about a smile on a man's face when he's not the type to freely give one up. It's a precious moment where I get a little glimpse of a grandfather I never knew, when he was a young man, full of life...with a friend who wore a bow tie.

His friends called him Bud.

Bud, on the right, with friends.


  1. I like listening to these types of stories about past relatives too. No matter good or bad things, at least it's inspiring to hear how they survived and dealt with the negative!