Gather ‘round kids…it’s story time. And it’s time for a fun, uplifting story about a little boy – maybe you know him or someone like him – a story about a little boy…call him Teddy.
Teddy was born into a well-to-do family. Not rich by any stretch of imagination, but not poor either. He is loved by his siblings, but Teddy is shy…keeps to himself. Maybe its because he has a fear of his father. And if it isn’t FEAR, maybe it’s a strong amount of respect. Teddy’s father was a man of business…a cattle man…and a strict parent.
His dad believed in the old adage “a child should be seen and not heard” and the less they were seen, the better! That’s not to say that he didn’t love his children, though. Maybe it meant that he, the businessman, was more concerned with providing for the family and really didn’t have time to spend with his kids.
There were many trips to the East Coast, Las Vegas and other places where business needed to be attended to. So Teddy and his siblings were sent to school…Catholic school, with nuns as teachers, who instilled the belief that if you were NOT Catholic you were going to hell!! Period. No Debate, no discussion.
It’s no surprise that Teddy, later in life, decides to join the military. And when he does, war breaks out! He quickly went from a “patrol soldier,” securing the Mexican Border from invasion, to “infantry” and is shipped overseas to fight for God and Country. Years later, he admits it wasn’t him being patriotic, it was basically a job. It was what he had to do. And was glad to be relieved of his soldierin’ duties.
He experiences all the rigors that war brings: friends dying, fear of being captured, new technologies and weaponry, he even suffers a few wounds and near-death experiences. After all is said and done, and he makes all his points, he is finally shipped home (quite literally!) and starts a family of his own.
Now, the family cattle business went bust prior to the war, due to some bad dealings and the forces of Mother Nature. Here, now, he has a chance to start something new…perhaps a policeman?
Maybe Border Patrol, or even a railroad engineer…as appealing as it all sounded, he actually decides to start a garage door business. It’s post-war America and new families are filling new houses, and starting new businesses and they all need these doors.
Plus, Teddy is good with his hands, a true laborer. He loves to create and build and make things. Working with metal, and wood and gears and springs and cables…it kind of comes natural to him.
The door business is somewhat a success, never making him rich, but never having to struggle, much like his entire life has been. His place in this universe has been one of COMFORT. Never too rich or too poor, but happy. A lesson he passes on to those who are closest to him .
He loves the joy that family brings, the fun that comes with friends visiting, sharing food and drink and stories. Playing cards, traveling out of city, out of state…constantly looking forward to SOMETHING! He’s body and mind are always in motion, reading, creating…LIVING! Something that we all could take a page from and learn.
Now, I know this boy very well….as he is not just a boy from a story. He exists, and he is, in fact my grandfather. Raised during the cattle drives in our country’s history, the business suffers because of the Great Depression. He was a soldier in World War II, where he received the Purple Heart, Oak Leaf clusters and the Bronze Star.
He helps raise 5 children, countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who all honor and respect him and his legacy.
He is part of “the greatest generation.” And I still learn from him, everyday.
He still wakes up every morning and goes to work at the family run garage door business. His weekends consist of “piddling” in his shed at his house, still creating. Every night before bed he reads, still enriching his mind.
He is still LIVING. Despite ALL the hardships he has been through in his 90 plus years…the loss of family, friends, a wife, the death of a son…things that would have brought a weaker person down, he managed to over come and surpass them. And LIVED.
Now granted, this is just a small, minor, detail-free look in to his life’s story, but is a story…a story that needed to be told. A person, whose life needed to be shared.
No one will ever truly know ALL his accomplishments and hardships…but imagine if the world were full of MORE Teddys.
The world would be full of hard-working people, willing to learn, continuing to enrich themselves and influencing people to achieve better.
But then again, there IS only one Teddy and he is, indeed, one of a kind.