My grandpa was arguably one of the greatest men to ever have graced my presence.
Eugene Schlenker was like any old man to a teenager, hard headed, closed minded and outspoken. In an argument he never backed down. However, if he was wrong, he didn't hesitate to make a public statement about how sorry he was.
I can't remember how many times he stood in front of our local church to publicly apologize for a wrongdoing or a "just in case" apology for offending someone. The apology was sincere, with tears in his eyes and conviction in his voice; no one could stay mad at him. But if he was right, you heard about that too. He was full of animated stories and memories of his time working on the railroad. Times were tough and he got through the worst.
When I was really young, he always told me he wanted to live just long enough to see me graduate high school; a luxury he wasn't granted.
He's been gone now for nearly nine years, and missing him hasn't been any easier. He was steadfast in his beliefs and there wasn't a night he didn't spend hours reading the Bible.
Every so often I have to wonder, would he be proud of me? He didn't get his final wish to see me graduate high school or college, but that was his wish for me. Sometimes I find myself in regret for not listening to him as much, or not asking him more important questions.
It might be with my age and maturity, but now I find it ever important to seek the wisdom and knowledge of the elders in my life.
It's extremely important to listen, help and honor those in our lives that have been there for us all along.
Remember all the gifts, wise words and love we were given by those who would literally give their left arm for us. Life is so much shorter than we realize, and I just wanted to remind everyone (mostly myself) to get those tidbits of knowledge before it's too late. We should do it now, before we can't walk into the living room, sit by our grandparent's feet and ask them whatever we want.