Saturday, June 5, 2010
Happy 90th birthday to my Grandpa Woodrow Williams!
Happy Birthday Grandpa!! (Photo Courtesy of Haylie Coats)
What a privilege it is and has been to be your granddaughter! Just thinking about you puts a grin on my face. You are truly one of a kind and one of the best men I know.
My earliest memories are of excitement filled car drives to the farm in Idaho. We just couldn’t wait to get there. I loved everything about our visits with you and when you and Grandma Claire would come to visit us as well. Trips to the store to buy penny candies, requests to see your false teeth come out, the best homemade french fries and fried potatoes I’ve ever had, picking blackberries and green peas on the side of the house, playing in the potato cellar, feeding a bunch of stray cats on the porch, and bedtimes stories of the fox and the grapes and the three billy goats gruff. Sometimes we would have to shake you awake to get you to finish the story if you fell asleep mid-story and you would wake with a laugh and say “Where was I” and we would laugh too. I can hear your laugh in my head even now and it is and always has been contagious!! You would always make sure that we felt special and wonderful by saying things when we entered the room like “There’s that Heather, she’s a good looking gal isn’t she?!” or “She is really something special.” repeated in different ways for each grandchild that came in or out of the room. I loved to hear you sing or whistle and watch you work and cook. You were never in a bad mood and if we ever were you could pull us out quickly with a funny sentence and laughter.
I of course remember our visits to the old Indian home (see Derek’s letter!) and to the zoo! I’ll bet we got to see behavior from the animals that most kids didn’t. I remember once being slightly worried and fascinated about how angry you were able to make the monkeys!! And who can forget getting peed on by a tiger?! How many kids can say that? I was standing a bit too close with my back to the cage and you said “Heather look out!” but it was too late. I think I was too shocked to move! I also remember that I loved to go down in the basement and play on your exercise machine that had the belt that went around your waist that jiggled your insides when you turned it on. You always let us give things a try and be kids and never got upset with us! I also remember loving to look at all of the pretty dresses in the back bedroom that Mom and Aunt Ileen wore when they were in school.
When you came to visit us in the various places we lived you would always make sure to attend our different sporting events and fix our bikes or give them a tune up. I remember once that my neighbor friend also had a bicycle that was broken and she brought it over and you fixed her bike too. I was really proud of that. I knew that my grandpa was the best! We also loved the autographed photos that you would bring us of Miss America or Miss Idaho! :D
On a visit to Idaho when I was about 17, I thought it was so funny that you tried to set me up on “a hot date” with a local football player that everyone thought was so wonderful. Thank goodness he called and cancelled. Lol! I was worried about that. I adored coming to visit and getting to stay with you in Burley while I was at Ricks College. I remember stopping at the supermarket with you for you to pick up some beano and some snowballs. You held up the little bottle of Beano and asked me if I knew what that was and I said no. Then you told me it was for when you ate too many beans and got gas! ☺ You always made sure to show me the drawer where the candy and the snowballs were kept and you always made me feel at home and comfortable. I loved getting to participate in the everyday routine with you and Grandma and I liked hearing you listen to Rush Limbaugh in the evenings and when you would fall asleep watching the news on TV.
After I was married, I was really excited to get to come see you and to meet Beverly and for Greg to meet you. I knew he would love you!! We had the best time. I remember that you and Beverly both went out of your way to make sure we had a great time. We went to the lava caves, the place where Evil Canival jumped, Sun Valley, and the rock climbing place (I can’t remember the name of it now) but it was so much fun! One evening at the house the missionaries stopped by and they came in and visited and one of the Elders spoke in broken English and you asked him where he was from. He was from a small remote island somewhere and you said “What do you eat there roots (pronounced ruhts)?” I got so tickled that the chair I was sitting on began to shake and Greg and I couldn’t make eye contact. We still repeat that occasionally. :D I also loved getting to hear you say again, as I often remember you saying, when a plate of food is placed in front of you “I can’t eat all that!” We also loved getting to spend some time with Ileen’s family!! Greg was so honored and thrilled to be able to make the trip back to interview and film you as well. You did such a fabulous job on camera telling your stories and I always cry at the end when I watch it. We all know that you love us Grandpa and I think that is one true mark of a wonderful Grandpa!
Grandpa, what a lucky family we are to have you. Thank you for all of the things that you have taught us by example and who you are. You have made a difference in all of our lives and we are filled with wonderful memories because of you. One phrase in particular that I can remember you telling me repeatedly throughout my life is to “not worry about things because it doesn’t do any good and things always work out in the end,” a refrain that has echoed in my mind throughout the years whenever I had troubles or worries. I am really grateful for that, for your sense of humor and for your example of hard work, spirituality, and selflessness. I love you!!!