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Sunday, January 1, 2017

A New Year message from my grandfather

      It is important to know a little about my grandfather before I tell you his New Year's message.  In addition to being the kindest person I have ever known, my grandfather was the most curious person I have ever known.  He lived life to the fullest.  If he sat down for any period of time he was looking for something to read.  It didn't matter what it was he wanted to learn something he didn't already know.  As a child when we traveled with my grandparents he always wanted to explore the locations where we stopped along the way.  While my parents and my grandmother settled into the place where we were staying my grandfather and I would start walking to "see what was around the corner."  The sense of adventure, no matter how limited, was always exciting to me as a child.  I guess you could sum up my grandfather's philosophy of life with the well repeated refrain of "take the road less traveled."
     So that gets me to the message I wanted to tell about my grandfather.   We usually spent the New Year holiday with my grandparents.  At midnight when we would be wishing everyone a "Happy New Year" my grandfather would always say "one year closer to the grave."   That sounds like a very morbid thing to say at this happy moment but that was the key to understanding my grandfather's look at life.  He lived his life knowing that we only have a finite time on Earth and you have to make the most of every moment.  Explore everything you come across.  Never waste a time to learn a new lesson or meet someone for the first time.
      So every New Year I remember my grandfather's unusual message about how to live life.  A valuable lesson indeed.  Happy New Year with many new opportunities and experiences yet to be explored.

      My grandfather was born in 1900, the last year of the 19th Century.  His wish was to live in three different centuries, the 19th, the 20th and the 21st.  Unfortunately he only lived to 1977 and fell short of that goal but his spirit still resonates in me.

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