My grandfather lives near Chesnee in the foot hills of up state SC. He lives with my grandmother in their home. Because of her Alzheimer’s, my family visits them every other week, so I have lots of time to observe him. He is short at 5’ 3” and despite his size his will is big. At 87 years old. His skin sags and bruises easily. Blood pools into the back of his hands. It looks as if he is rusted. Age has taken its tole, so, his body is wearing out making many things not work like his kidneys, heart, and hips. Over the years, he has lost the tips of both pointer fingers and a thumb to various saws. He just keeps on working and doing, sticking to his philosophy: life throws things at you and you just have to power through it.
He has used this philosophy for many things in his life-first the Great Depression, then WWII, and now my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s. He lived through the Great Depression. The oldest male at nine, he wrestled the mule to plow the garden. This determination to survive has make him very stubborn and “hard.” The Great Depression also made him perceive things as if they are valuable when they really do not have any value at all. Some of the strange things that my grandfather collects are old shotgun shells, every nut, bolt, washer, hinge, and handle that crosses his path, and fast food toys.
He served in WWII on a destroyer with 149 other crew members and ten officers. From that cramped ship, he participated in many important battles in the Pacific front such as the Battle of Midway, the First Battle of Guadalcanal, the Second Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of Eastern Solomons, and a series of six battles called the Leyte Campaign. After the war, he got a job at the USDA as a cow milker and worked his way up to a head electrician. He worked this job for 28 years retiring early because his heart was bad. He continued to work on a garden till last year when he could no longer put the effort into it. He is has always been hard at work because that is how he made his way out of the poverty in which he grew up. Hunting is his outlet since he can’t garden any longer. He hunts twice a week with friends and makes bad jokes that every body has already heard just to hear himself laugh. My grandfather has achieved many things in his life and I have also learned many things from him.