On a more somber note, I received news on Monday that Clarence "Grampa" Ebert passed away at the age of 77. He was fighting a battle with cancer that it seemed he was winning. He wasn't my grampa, but that's what I called him.
Grampa never graduated high school, but he provided well for his family, was married to the same woman until her death a few years ago and was welcoming and fun to be around. He was one of those guys who, when he said, "I love you." he really meant it. He didn't lie or cheat on his wife or any of that other sort of stuff. If you wanted his advice, he would listen closely, paraphrase what it was you told him to be sure he understood, then tell you his honest opinion. Sometimes you may not have agreed with him, but he refused to candy-coat any issue and he never told you something because that's what he thought you wanted to hear.
One of my favorite things to remember about Grampa was his habit of using fifty-dollar words inappropriately and with poor pronunciation. It added so much to his character. The last conversation I had with him ended with giggles and I love you's on both ends. I feel privileged to have been allowed to know him for the brief time I did. I will sorely miss his wise counsel, sincere laughter, mispronounced words and honest love.
In memory of Clarence "Grampa" Ebert, do me this one favor: Call the elders in your family, including extended family, and tell them you care for them. They are gone before we know it and we are never ready for them to go.