Cheers to my patriot.

We’re coming up on the 5th anniversary of my grandpa’s passing, and unlike what everyone says; it’s not getting any easier as time goes by. Holidays involving any bit of patriotism are an especially difficult pill for my family, more specifically my grandma, to swallow. The streets are lined with American flags and people are dressed head to toe in red white and blue, I am reminded at every turn of the biggest patriot of all, Grampy.
Harlan Gollihue was about as American as it gets. His grandpa came over from Ireland to farm, and in turn raised his children to do the same. My grandpa grew up on that farm in Kentucky until he joined the U.S. Navy.
Our family always gave my grampy a hard time about telling the same stories over and over. I will forever appreciate his enthusiasm and repetition though, because now I know these stories from beginning to end and can share them with everyone else. I can close my eyes and picture his goofy grin, tan, clean shaved face. I see the wrinkles that lined his smile, proving he spent his years happier than any other man. I close my eyes and hear his voice, telling me all the wonderful tales that he lived through the years of his life.
I asked him once why he decided to join the Navy.
“Well, I went to work one morning and I started to look around town. There was nobody there,” he leaned into me as if he was sharing a secret no one else had heard. “They’d all gone to war, so I knew I had to go too.”
He joined the next day, and was sent to Salt Lake City, Utah a couple weeks later. It was so simple to him. He looked around, and knew it was his duty; and with no fear he fulfilled his duty. Lucky for us, he started his training towards the end of the war and was never shipped over seas. He was released from duty and returned to Kentucky with a lot of stories, and a wife, my grandma Dorothy. They wed in 1945, and were happily married until my grandpas passing nearly five years ago. This April was there 72nd wedding anniversary…
Of all the things he taught me, this particular story taught me something very important. Show up. In all aspects of life, show up. Take that leap of faith, swallow your fears and just do it. You never know what life has in store for you, but it is your duty to show up so whats meant to happen can. He looked around and joined the Navy. That decision changed his future forever in ways he could have never predicted. Each time I take a leap of faith, I take a deep breathe, close my eyes and hear him tell me this story.
“Well, I went to work one morning and I started to look around town. There was nobody there,” he leaned into me as if he was sharing a secret no one else had heard. “They’d all gone to war, so I knew I had to go too.”
I trust that deep down I know what to do, and that he is still guiding me along the way. Every time I can make my grandma laugh, or put her nerves at ease; I know I make him smile. I’ve learned that its my turn to tell those stories, over and over. His stories are too special not to share.



 

 

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s