My grandpa was the milk man

My grandpa and my dad outside the milk truck

My grandpa was the milk man.

I know. That sounds like some bad “dirty joke” pun, but it’s true! My grandpa was the milk man. And if he were still alive, he’d have been 89 years old today.

I always took great pride in being my grandpa’s granddaughter. I remember introducing myself to people growing up, and they would get this thoughtful look on their face.

“Any relation to the old milk man we used to have here?” And I grin from ear-to-ear and confirm that, “Yup. That’s my grandpa! … What’s he up to today? Oh he’s a jack-of-all-trades handyman around town.”

“Ah… good… good. I remember the time…”

Everyone always had a story about grandpa. It wasn’t until after he died that I heard the story of him pulling a family out of a burning building while on his milk route. I think that one is my favorite one of them all. That and the fact that he raised seven kids with my grandma… yes, seven. They were married over 50 years before death did they part, when my grandma passed away.

Oh and did I mention he served in WWII? Yup. He was a cook! And man… those cooks on M*A*S*H? Yeah, they weren’t my grandpa. He made GREAT food. Best hamburgers ever.  EVER.  Whataburger? In-N-Out. Pffffft. They WISH they were as good as grandpa’s burgers. They WISH.

Grandpa and Grandma

By the way, you know how I’m an Aggie? Yeah, my grandpa worked as a cook at Sbisa mess hall back in the day. So, you see, my ties to Texas A&M go way back. (My Uncle Milton, Mom’s brother, worked at TAMU at one time as well!) The first time I ate dinner in Sibsa, I looked around and smiled, knowing Grandpa was smiling down on me as well.

I remember when I got accepted to Texas A&M, my grandpa was in a VA nursing home. I got him an “Aggie’s Grandpa” bumper sticker for his motorized wheelchair.  And, you know, he put it on it and rode around with it proudly displayed!

Grandpa always said I reminded him of my grandma when she was younger. And I think that’s why he got so upset the first time I colored my hair. I still remember feeling guilty when he gave me that look of disapproval of my choice to lighten my hair.

But, I think deep down, he knew I was me and I was going to do my own thing.  That or Grandma set him straight on that. haha!!! Who knows.

I just know that if anyone asks me about my grandparents, I smile and say, “My grandpa was the milk man.” and if anyone will listen long enough, I’ll tell them all about him.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa! Make sure you dance with Grandma in heaven today and celebrate your special day… just the way I know you two danced the day you joined her up there. You had a special love… and you’ve always been a role model for me and, I don’t doubt, all your kids and grandkids. I love you!

I was safe in Grandpa's arms.

Remembering why we celebrate Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend. The weekend that is considered the “kick off to summer.” Boats hit the lake. Floaties hit the pool. The grills are fired up. Everyone drags out their swim wear. And stores hold huge sales. It’s ALLLLLLLL good.

But. Why do we have Memorial Day? Its not so the girls can jump into string bikinis. It’s not so stores can sell more clothes. It’s not all about the hot dog.

No. We have Memorial Day for this:

Day 201: Nashville National Cemetery -- Memorial Day 2011To remember the men and women who have given all to keep us all free. To remember their sacrifice. To remember the sacrifice of their families. To say thank you to them… to all our military. All the rest of that stuff? We probably wouldn’t even HAVE that if not for our soldiers.


Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).

In 1971, Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act, stating that Memorial Day would be celebrated the last Monday of May.

Nashville National Cemetery -- Memorial Day 2011Friday, I saw a report on the news about the flags being placed at Arlington National Cemetery, and I wondered where I could find something similar in Nashville. I asked my husband, and yesterday he took me to Nashville National Cemetery.

We were both deeply moved by what we found. All the flags, perfectly lined up beside the perfectly lined up headstones. The headstones seemed to stretch forever. We drove slowly, stopping periodically so I could snap photos. A few other people were doing the same. Some were there to put flowers on loved one’s graves. We were silenced. We were touched.

Nashville National Cemetery -- Memorial Day 2011Headstones ranged from the 1800s to today. The ones that said things like, “Loving wife and mother” brought tears to my eyes. (Especially realizing some were MY age.) These people gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.

As we drove through an area of particularly old headstones, I asked my husband if he, too, thought some of these soldiers would be saddened by our world today. My husband said he felt they probably would. It made me want to do better. It made me want to earn the life they gave their own life for me and everyone around me to have. These people who helped change the course of history.

After our trip to the cemetery, we did swing out by the lake for awhile for supper. But we both had a different vibe from earlier in the day. We were more thoughtful. More reverent of the day/weekend.

If wherever you are, you have a chance to visit a soldier’s grave… please do. Take a moment to remember why we have this three day weekend. It’s not about bikinis and new shoes. It’s not about barbecue and beer. It’s about our military… the men and women who gave so much for our freedom. Let’s not take it for granted.

Nashville National Cemetery -- Memorial Day 2011

On a personal note… my grandpa was a WWII veteran. Tuesday would have been his 89th birthday. I was always proud to be his granddaughter… He had so many stories he would never share, and now never can again. Miss him.

God bless our soldiers… and all their loved ones they’ve left behind.