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Never Forgotten.

19 Jan 2012

I often wonder what little pieces of information my boys will always remember from their childhood.  At some point I know someone has impressed them with some piece of advice that will stay with them forever.  Here’s one that has always stayed with me:

I remember when I was about 9 years old, I was sitting next to my Grandpa Anthony in a lawn chair looking out on the Columbia River from his yard in The Dalles on W. 10th street.  It was a hot afternoon so we were sitting in the shade on the east side of the house.  He was cutting the skin off an apple with his pocket knife and explaining to me the importance of having clean fingernails.

He said, “It doesn’t matter how little money you have, you can always have clean fingernails.”

Clean fingernails, simple enough.

The picture above is one of my all-time favorites.  That is my Grandpa working on a truck with his dog holding the work light.  He was a mechanic, working mainly on diesel engines.  For him cleaning his hands wasn’t as easy as just sticking them under a faucet, it took some time and effort.  Lava soap and a stiff brush was usually involved in the task.

At the time I was more interested in getting a slice of the apple than getting advice on hygiene.  I wonder if he was sharing his thought because my hands were dirty at the time, or because he really felt it was important.  I imagine it was because of both.

He never went anywhere without combing his hair, washing his hands and face and making sure he looked presentable.  ‘Getting ready to go’ meant more than checking for the wallet, keys and going to the bathroom.  Even if he never planned on getting out of the car, he was presentable – just in case.

To this day I remember that afternoon and the words of wisdom he shared.  He died about a year and half later, but that day and what my grandpa said is always with me.  Never forgotten.

Amazing, isn’t it?  Our words can have such an impression and lasting effect.

I’m sure you have similar memories, can you feel that moment like it just happened?

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