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In what way did your grandparents make a lifelong impression?

Grandparents Day

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My dad's parents made a covenant to "give something away" every day of their lives and that they did -- right down to my Granny's diamond engagement ring for missionary support. She kept right on giving, doing for others even after my grandfather was killed in a work-related accident when he was early 50s. A great legacy.

My paternal grandmother (the only grandparent I knew) gave me an appreciation ... no a "love" ... for hard work and baking!

She was a unique mix ... the stoic, stern German stereotype and the sweet-smelling grandma - granny shoes, a fox stole and all (she always wore the same Avon scent).

She made annual visits to Phoenix - leaving the cold Illinois winter for the mild environs of Arizona. Besides getting away from Chicago's cold ... her time in Phoenix always included a couple trips to Mesa to watch Spring training for her beloved Cubs (she personally knew the owner, coach and several players).

But, what I remember most is how she, for that one month a year, transformed our kitchen. With the exception of a mid-afternoon snooze in the rocking chair, 90% of her day was in there ... fixing meals and, in between, doing tons of baking - stocking our deep freeze for the cold Phoenix winters (NOT!).

I'm sure I went to school ... but, I clearly remember, as an 8-10 year old boy, watching her every move. A favorite image etched in my mind is the movement of her sagging upper arms as her stocky, apron-clad frame stood over the kitchen table - kneading the dough in a monster-sized bowl. Then, setting the bowl, covered in a colorful Afghan blanket, near the furnace to "let it rise."

During those years, I gleaned sufficient bread-baking acumen to start my own little neighborhood business ... baking homemade bread, selling it to neighbors and my parents co-workers.

Grandma gave me an appreciation/love for baking ... and that entrepreneurial spirit.

To this day ... I can still see Grandma Miller in the kitchen ... her snow-white hair, that unmistakable Avon scent, the apron secured around her neck and torso and flour dust on just about everything.

While I knew (sometimes feared) her month-long 'reign' in our house (including forced intake of broccoli and cauliflower) ... I couldn't wait to see her ... especially as she first appeared at the top of the mobile stairway ... at the door of the TWA flight from Chicago.

My sweet-tooth mind had an ulterior motive. There she stood ... a hat on top of her full head of hair (the kind of hat with feathers and a veil), the mink or fox stole over her shoulders and her purse draped over her arm.

Inside that purse was the treat - a box of Chiclets chewing gum ... you know, the little white squares of gum ... think it was in a yellow box.

Maybe I was a deprived lad, but I couldn't wait for her to deplane, pick up her baggage and get in the car. Because, on the drive home from Sky Harbor Airport, I knew I'd get my first taste of Chicklets.

Happy Grandparents Day, Grandma!

My paternal grandparents taught me the Lord's Prayer and the value of daily devotions, hard work and integrity.

Be well,

Grandma taught me what it means to truly see the best in people.

My paternal grandfather was one of two heroes in my life. William Franklin Cross was a simple corn farmer in Missouri most of his life and lived out his faith in Jesus in every area of his life. His word was his bond and his handshake was a contract he honored. He left a legacy of honor, integrity and faithfulness to God that I had the privilege of seeing and experiencing as I interacted with him until his death in 1970. His example of how to live a christian life despite what adverse circumstances of hurdles may come is something I still draw on today. "Honest Bill" as he was known in his small country town, is still one of my two heroes to this day. I cherish every memory of him. He loved me unconditionally. It doesn't get much better than that. Oh--my other hero? His son--my dad!

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