As many already know my grandfather Clifford O'Dell Sr Passed away this past Friday. He is in many of our thoughts, memories over these past few days and I feel the need to share some of these thoughts with you.
Many can and perhaps may say some things negative about the later years of this 95 year old paternal federal head of a very large family. Some of these things may be true, But why? I prefer to focus on the so many great things I can remember of my grandfather. In truth the vast majority of my happy memories of my childhood are of my grandfather. I remember him in his workshop. Always always in his workshop, and he was ever so generous with his tools and his equipment. In those days it seemed like a problem was more of an opportunity then a calamity. Whenever he had a problem he almost smiled because that meant he could go into the shop and figure out a solution. And solutions were found. Everything from a broken plow to a tractor that didn't start as reliably as desired grandpa would ponder it out and in many cases make something. It was this that inspired in me a love of crafting and creating. Grinding, fixing, drilling, cutting, sometimes wood but most often metal Many many afternoons spent making things work and after they got working making them work better. Everything from garden tools to knives to pots and pans. He would apply that same relentless optimism to his garden. No matter what failures happened one year he would take some small knowledge from the attempt and use it to the eventual success later. It seemed that between them grandpa and grandma could grow anything.
I remember the year we had so many problems with flies and bees. Did I say problem? Was it truly a problem? Nay as always it was an opportunity and thus it was not long before grandpa had developed a solution and the bee trap was born. Ingenious in its design and elegant in its simplicity and it worked just as desired.
I remember a man of great faith. Quiet faith never pushy or overbearing never in your face with the fake piety that so many self-righteous Christians have these days. But he read his bible every day and worked hard never to judge or malign others. Can we say the same? He understood long suffering and endurance and while I can't say I remember him being terribly patient I can say he had a way of building into each day a small achievement that could lead over time to a very big achievement almost as if he could see it from the beginning and slowly shaped it into being.
I can remember later when I entered my profession as a Machinist often going to grandpas early in the morning after work and chatting with him about working in a factory. I learned so very much about factory life and about the making of things. Oh how I wish I had a tape recorder so I could share the wealth of wisdom he bestowed upon me. We had so much in common with that regard. He was one of the few people I have ever known that truly understood the very real rigors of a factory life. The slow, weary, grinding away, day after day and endless stream of parts. How to remain fresh and maintain a modicum of sanity with the tedium that is a machinist's lot. He was fastidious everything had to be "just so" and I was one of the few people that understood that this comes from being a machine operator. We spend our days scrutinizing hundreds of parts that are meant to be identical looking for the one that is not right looking for the smallest things. It breeds a bit of compulsiveness for order and habit.
I will miss you grandpa. For all the reasons I have written and so many more. Have fun in that great big workshop in heaven and when its my day to join you we can share another cup of coffee and remember the good old factory days.