I’m going to miss you, Grandpa

Published 11:48 am Saturday, May 24, 2014

This past Wednesday, I received the sad word from my father that his dad (my grandfather) had passed away in Iowa. I flew out Sunday to be with my family for his funeral on Tuesday morning.

Author Tom Brokaw wrote about the so-called “Greatest Generation,” those who grew up during the Great Depression and many of whom went on to serve in the military. I definitely think Brokaw was thinking about people like my grandfather, Walter Schuver.

He grew up in one of those disappearing pieces of Americana — the family farm. In fact, he slept every night in the room where he was born, at least until grandma’s health began to fade and he moved to an apartment to stay closer to her. Grandpa farmed his entire life, and I have vivid memories of me and my siblings hiking through the fields of corn that blanketed their modest property just outside Granville, Iowa.

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We spent many Christmases in that quaint and quiet farmhouse, even when I was growing up in Gadsden, Ala. Unlike many of my friends, who had grandparents that lived in town, it was always a bit of a struggle to get back north to see my relatives. But the rarity of those visits only made them even more special to me.

There are a few images of those visits that will remain in my memory forever. One was spending time in the attic, looking through old photographs, board games, toys and other items that had been collected through the years. I specifically remember a book of Walt Disney stories, including the ones about Brer Fox and Brer Bear, and how “dey lay low” while trying to catch Brer Rabbit.

I’ll also remember looking up to the tall grain silo on the farm, and trying to muster up the nerve to climb it. There was one day when I was set to do it, but a family of bees had decided to build a nest on the ladder, so that was the end of that.

I did eventually climb that silo — although I had to wait until I was 30. My sister and I both scaled the high structure last year, when we went up to Iowa for a few days to help Grandpa and Grandma move some things out of the farmhouse.

However, the thing that I will always most remember about Grandpa was his love of music. Specifically, his love of the guitar. I eventually began taking acoustic guitar lessons in the sixth grade, and still continue to play from time to time. I have no doubt that Grandpa influenced me to love music as well.

I’m sure there are harp-playing angels in heaven right now who are letting Grandpa Walt join in with his “six-string orchestra,” making beautiful music together.

Rest in peace, Walter Schuver. I love you very much.