My Grandpa would have been 101 years old today. He was the first person to hold me when I was born…so I always like to think I was his favorite grand kid. 😉 He also gave me my blessing at church as a baby, and stepped in to be the father figure in my life while my mom was a single parent. He will always be my hero. I have so many fond memories of him, even as a very young child, like when we were sitting at the kitchen table, eating peas and carrots, talking about gorillas and other silly things. (I have an audio tape from that conversation that I will cherish forever). I remember one December when our entire family spent time at his house in Logan, Utah. My grandpa and I wore matching red and green pajamas. I remember hearing him play the old wooden piano; he had such a wonderful talent. I played that same piano at his house as a kid, dreaming of writing music.
When I was going to school at USU, my aunt’s family left town for spring break, so I got to go stay with my Grandpa that week. He was a widower by that time. It was hard to see him living alone in the house he had shared with my Grandma for over 50 years. I decided to try and bring back a little of Grandma to him that week. I put together a dinner schedule, and would open up some of my grandma’s cookbooks and make him a meal each night. I walked across the street on a Sunday to Ted Perry’s house (the brother of L. Tom Perry) to borrow some flour to make my grandma’s banana bread after church. Even though the bread (or most of the meals) didn’t come out as good as Grandma’s, it was a sweet memory to be there, sitting at my grandpa’s table again, 15 years later. Only this time we didn’t talk about peas and carrots and gorillas. We talked about our memories of Grandma, of his life growing up, of our family, and of the gospel. It was wonderful hearing my Grandpa’s testimony. He was an honest and faithful man, someone who lived a life of honor and dedication. Someone I will always admire and cherish.
When Grandpa passed away on St. Patrick’s Day of 2007, I like to think it was the day he was reunited with my grandma’s green eyes. My mom called me from Logan where they were making preparations for the funeral. She told me to come up with an arrangement to play at his funeral the next week. She asked me to play “Be Still My Soul,” since it was one of my Grandpa’s favorite hymns. I remember sitting at my piano for a week straight, late into the night, writing that song. It was the shortest amount of time I had to write, but in the end, it became my favorite song of all the songs I had written. I remember the day of the funeral, getting up there to play in front of all of my cousins, aunts, and uncles. My fingers were shaking, but I was blessed to get through the song. I felt my grandparents sitting there with me. My 6 foot 5 uncle gave me a big hug right after it was over.
This arrangement, written along with “Where Can I Turn for Peace,” has become even more meaningful to me over the years. I can see why my grandpa loved this hymn so much.
“Be Still My Soul, the Lord is on Thy side.
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide.
In every change, He faithful will remain.”
…”Be Still My Soul, when change and tears are passed.
All safe and blessed, we shall meet at last.” ♥