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Just dropping by ... Grandparents’ Path

Yevet Tenney Published on 11 June 2014

Lately I have been thinking about my heritage and how lucky I have been to have parents and grandparents who left a clear path to follow. They were devout Christians who came from the roots of strong pioneer stock. You know the kind who worked every day of their lives to build for the future.

They dug in the soil of freedom, independence and self reliance. They watered the world every day with pure living water of charity. They lived out their lives breathing the air of gratitude and forgiveness. I was blessed to know them and to rub shoulders with them before they passed on.

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When I was a teenager, my grandfather Crandell, my dad’s father, passed away from a massive heart attack. We were asked to write memories of him. Each family member wrote of special moments they had shared. I want to share what I wrote about the impressions I had of him when I was so young. I am not sure I have made that kind of an impression on my grandchildren. I know I have work to do.

The first thing I remember about Grandpa and Grandma was sleeping over at their house. I think it was when Mother went to have Mary Jane (my baby sister). I remember that they pushed the two couches together and made the neatest bed I had ever seen.

My memories of Grandpa are vague but warm and filled with admiration. Grandpa was a tall, stocky man with gray hair. He always wore coveralls and smelled of power-saw grease and sawdust except on Sunday. Then he wore a suit and tie. He was a good-humored man who laughed and smiled easily. He was highly spiritual and knew the scriptures.

I remember a sermon Grandpa gave. It must have really impressed me because I have remembered it all these years. He talked about how he loved to read Western books. He apologized a little for reading them. Then he said, “I used to feel bad for reading those books, but I found one thought that has made the reading worthwhile.

‘The eyes are the windows of the soul.’” He related the idea of living a clean and pure life. The world would know what kind of life we are leading by our eyes. It was a beautiful sermon and has had a great impact on my life.

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Grandpa was a wise man. Grandma tells the story of how she and Grandpa struggled over the fact that Jay (my dad) had to go into the service during World War II. They were extremely concerned about a young man going into the world alone.

They had both lived through the First World War, and the perils and pitfalls of the war were still fresh in their minds. Grandma kept telling Grandpa, “Please talk to Jay and tell him about the world.” Grandpa never did. After they put Jay on the train, they both cried.

Then Grandma asked, “Did you tell Jay about the world?” Grandpa shook his head. “No Mommy,” he said. “Everything we have taught him and all that he has learned will go with him tonight. What more can we do?” Grandma felt better because she knew that they had taught him right.

They need not have worried because they were blessed to always know what he was doing. As time passed, the letters came. They told of Jay meeting friends in England and told how the men called him Deacon.

The letters were filled with questions about the scriptures. Finally, the news came that he had risked his life to save the army base. Grandpa and Grandma knew God had blessed them with a righteous son and they would never have to worry about him.

Grandma said that Grandpa was made a high priest the same day Jay was ordained a deacon by Joseph Fielding Smith, and this all took place on their wedding anniversary. Grandpa was a high priest for a long time.

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poem called grandparents' path

One Valentine’s Day, Grandma and the children, Jay, Clarence and Twilla, worked all day to make a huge valentine out of candy for Grandpa. The family at the time lived in Holbrook in a one-room house. The children rushed the valentine around to the front door and knocked loudly.

Then they made a mad dash back through the back door. Before Grandpa could even notice they were gone, they were playing quietly in the middle of the floor. Grandpa walked to the door – and what a surprise. It took him all evening to figure out how they got the valentine outside and who made it.

During Grandpa and Grandma’s married life, tramps were plentiful. Grandma used to worry about them coming up from the Pleasant Valley and arriving at the house when the men were away. She used to gather her children around her in the light of the window and would tell them story after story until the men came home.

Once a tramp did come; Grandpa invited him to come in and Grandma set a pot of beans and some baked potatoes on the table. He must have been extremely hungry because he grabbed a hot potato and started eating. Little Twilla was horrified. “Papa, we haven’t asked the blessing!” The tramp stopped cold. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I didn’t think people said blessings anymore.”

There was another tramp that came. He wanted to stay a while. Grandpa gave him a tent and provisions to set up camp. One day they were working, and they spotted smoke. Their first thought was that it was the cook house, but a little investigation eased their minds. It was only the old tramp’s tent. He had built a fire in it and had gone off for a walk.

It didn’t take Grandpa long to decide that the tramp would be better off somewhere else. He told Grandma to find him something decent to wear and clean him up. Grandma found some old clothes, and Jay put a bowl on the tramp’s head and cut around it for a haircut.

He didn’t look wonderful, but he looked better than he had. They took him to Heber and gave him a warm send-off. He was never seen again in those parts. He didn’t even come back to get another haircut.

Grandpa used to run a saw shop. He had a shop right near the house. He worked on saws, and he had a logging business. Grandpa was always a hard worker, and he taught his children to work.

I am very grateful for the memories that I have of Grandpa; though I was young when he passed away, I have vivid images of him that will stay with me always. I remember the week before he died. We were visiting at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

As I saw him sitting there in his coveralls, I had the overwhelming desire to go and hug him and tell him how much I loved him. I didn’t do it, I guess because I was afraid I’d cry. Now I wish I had. The chance will never come again in this life, but you can bet I won’t miss the chance in the Eternal World.

I do love Grandpa for the things that he taught me, and more importantly, for the things he taught my father. He taught my father to be a man of charity and integrity. He taught him to love the Lord and to live the Gospel. Through my father and my grandfather, I have learned what God must be like. I pray that I will never mar the name of Crandell because it is a celestial name.

As years go by, I am more and more grateful for my heritage and wonder what impressions I am leaving on the hearts and minds of my children and grandchildren. Will they remember all the “Don’t do this” and “Don’t do that” I have told them over the years, or will they be filled with the memories of all the little acts of kindness and love I left behind? PD

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