Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Little Grandpa

Of my many memories of my Grandpa Smith, this is one of my favorites. I loved to watch Little Grandpa (named so by the great grandkids) smile that crooked grin each time that he saw them.

As you can see, Heber enjoyed the little bits of time that he got to know Little Grandpa personally. He didn't get these moments very often with Grandpa Smith, only just a handfull of them. Maybe some of the things I remember most about this great man will help my little man fill in the gaps that are left when we have to say goodbye to someone special so soon in our young lives.
So, this is for you Heber:
1. Little Grandpa is perhaps remembered most for the tantrums he could throw when something was going wrong with the farm equipment. I think each one of us grandkids got to witness at least one of these episodes when grandma would send us outside to take him a glass of water to "cool him off" as he tinkered around with the broken down bail wagon. You see Hebe, we come by this honestly.
2. Little Grandpa had a very funny little laugh. He didn't use it often but when he did it could always bring a chuckle out in me as well.
3. Little Grandpa was a great storyteller. If you could catch him on the right day he would captivate you with stories from his childhood, from serving in World War II, and from being married and raising 4 kids of his own.
4. Little Grandpa loved Grandma Geniel. Though I was young, I remember several occasions that I got to witness a very special look on his face as he watched his sweetheart from across the room.
5. Little Grandpa was stubborn. There was no convincing this man to do anything he didn't want to do. You can thank him for this trait as well buddy.
6. Though little Grandpa wasn't one to show a lot of affection, there was never any question that he loved us and took pride in us. This was made evident by the bulletin board plastered with pictures that hung wherever he lived. More than once he slipped coins in my pocket without mom seeing, for a book at the book fair, and he was always willing to share an orange stick or a bowl of mint chocolate chip icecream that grandma kept in the icebox. Hugs from Grandpa Smith didn't come often, but I will always cherish the times that they did.
7. I will never be able to see a hat (like the one seen above) and not think of little Grandpa. I remember seeing this hat hang on the pegs by the back door when he joined us for Thanksgiving dinner or any other afternoon meal.
Today we said goodbye to our Little Grandpa Smith. His memory will live on in me and I hope it will in you. He is not the great grandpa you were named for Heber, but you certainly have a lot of him in you.
I will miss you Grandpa Smith. Thanks for these memories and the many that have gone unmentioned. I was with you in heart today and look forward to the time I shall see you again.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Luckily for Heber and I, the Cleveland Clinic is just down the road from a fun little childrens museum. The day after Ben had his surgery, Heber and I let grandma stay and catch up with daddy for a few hours and we escaped the hospital to go have a little bit of fun.

Hebe has been such a good boy through all of this.......he needed a little time to just be a 3 year old and have a little fun. As you can see, the driving exhibits were a big hit.
I don't know for sure why one would need goggles to shop at the grocery store but they sure seemed to be doing the trick. We even managed to find a little bit of water fun. There is a great water table at the museum. Heber liked it until the pipes he was fitting together made a fountain that splashed him in the face.
This was the highlight of the day for both of us. I loved watching Heber discover his face on the TV screen. As you can see, he found more than just his face......"So You Think You Can Dance" here we come!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Four feet less..

One of these things is not like the other.....one of these things just isn't the same Ben was diagnosed 6 months ago with ulcerative colitis. This is a chronic, often genetic, condition that is an inflammatory bowel disease. There will be periods of time when it will be in remission and not bother him at all, and then there are periods of time when it will flare up and cause him extreme discomfort and all kinds of unpleasant side effects.
We think he has actually had UC for several years now, but, since doctors are invincible, or at least they like to think they are, it took a really rotten flare up and a persistant co-worker to finally convince him that he needed to be seen.
About 8 weeks ago he started in with another flare up and it just got progressivley worse, despite Ben's and his doctors best efforts to treat it. We knew that at some point in his life this disease would require surgery but we felt like we would exhaust all medical treatment options first.
After swallowing about 17 pills per day, several very unpleasnt scopes, and 3 trips to the ER in a matter of 8 days with no relief in sight, Ben was admitted to the hospital here locally until a bed became available at the Cleveland Clinic......12 hours later he was on his way.
The doctor who performed his surgery is literally one of the best in the country. He was one doctor of a small team who pioneered the procedure about 10 years ago at the clinic.
The whole process will occur in three steps, the first (actually removing the entire colon and the rectum) took place on Thursday. After a 6 week recovery he can return to work.
The last two procedures will occur in about 6 months. Hopefully then Ben will remember what it means to feel good.

Here he is sleeping comfortably with the little man about 2 hours before surgery.