John Williams was always a grand man with a grand gesture. The first thing he would do on greeting anyone was give them a firm handshake, then grab them by the shoulder, and pull them in for a hug. It didn’t matter who you were, or whether you knew grandfather well or not. He wanted you to feel welcome.
One of the things I most admired about John was his commitment. John worked hard for everything that he had in life. He grew up in a poor household. His family didn’t have much but they had each other. He fought in the Korean War, and then served again in the war after. He never complained, because he was loyal; not just to his country, but to his family. When he returned home he found a job in a manufacturing plant and worked long hours.
While he was tired, he never really let on. He was the type of person that always had a smile on his face for everyone, and a kind word to share. Grandfather always had a dollar to share, a silver dollar, or some kind of treat to offer us when we came over for a visit. My favorite memories were of sitting in his lap, or by his side, and listening to the stories he used to tell me. We would sometimes bust out a pack of cards, or spend time outside, working on something. It could have been a broken air conditioner or lawn mower, but grandfather was really just spending time with me, recollecting times past, days when he would take grandma out for a cheeseburger, or spend time simply enjoying the evening with a cool beer and his hand around her waist.
It’s funny, but he never really dwelt on stories that were hard or harsh, or the tough times I knew that he must have endured. And that really was his legacy. Grandpa was an inspiration, in that he always encouraged me to live my life in a positive way. One thing I will never forget about grandfather is that he taught me that the most important things in life to cherish, are my friends and family. No matter how busy one is, if you don’t make time for your friends and family, then you won’t have any.
I will never forget that lesson. As we take time to remember grandfather John Williams today, let’s take time to spend some quality time with one another. That is what John would have wanted, and cherished.